Trump Slammed for Lack of Empathy After Thumbs-Up Pictures With Florida Shooting First Responders

Trump gave the thumbs-up gesture while meeting hospital staff who treated victims of the high school shooting in Florida. White House

President Donald Trump has been criticized for a photograph of himself making a thumbs-up gesture and grinning broadly while posing with police officers and medics who responded to the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting.

Trump posed for a picture with police officers while visiting Broward County Sheriff's Office on Friday and shortly after updated his @realDonaldTrump Twitter banner with the image.

Critics said Trump's upbeat gesture was tone-deaf, given the gravity of the incident, in which 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were shot dead.

Trump just changed his Twitter banner to him grinning and giving a thumbs up while meeting with people who just responded to a deadly school shooting

— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) February 17, 2018

No. I’m highlighting Trump’s consistent tone deafness after tragedies. “Very fine people.” Or “Have a good time” to hurricane victims. He was at the hospital for a few minutes, flashed a thumbs up & left. The Bushes & Reagan would have handled it better too. We deserve better.

— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) February 17, 2018

Some criticized the president for failing to show empathy.

"To give a thumbs-up like you just had a great dinner. No empathy. Disgusting. Go away."

— Janice 🇨🇦 (@motorbike_mom) February 17, 2018

Democratic Wisconsin Representative Mark Pocan tweeted, "How can you stand there smiling and give a thumbs up when 17 Americans were killed in one of the nation's deadliest school shootings?"

"Where is your courage to stand up to the @NRA, @realDonaldTrump?"

Doesn’t look like you’re heart is too heavy. You are smiling ear-to-ear and giving a big thumbs-up in all of these pictures. Seems like you’re just excited to be in front of the cameras. #doSomething

— Misha Collins (@mishacollins) February 17, 2018

Neither the White House nor Trump has responded to criticism of the images.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump visited officers and victims of the shooting Friday, where the president focused on praising the reaction of emergency services rather than memorializing victims.

"What a great job you've done, and we appreciate it very much," Trump told officers at the sheriff's department. "Everybody is talking about it."

He added: "I hope you are getting the credit for it, because believe me, you deserve it. The job you have done is unparalleled."

In a visit to Broward Health North Hospital, where many of those wounded in the shooting are being treated, Trump posed with medics making the same thumbs-up gesture.

"It's an incredible thing," he said of the speed with which people were taken for treatment at the hospital after being wounded. "I want to congratulate them."

He did not publicly greet the families of any of the children killed in Wednesday's attack by former student Nikolas Cruz, reported The Washington Post. In remarks to reporters, he did not address the issue of gun regulation reform.

In the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in which 20 young children were killed by gunman Adam Lanza in Newtown, Connecticut, President Barack Obama famously wept at a White House press conference where he called for tighter gun restrictions on gun ownership.

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