The mayor of Dayton, Ohio, encouraged her constituents to protest the arrival of President Donald Trump when he travels to the city to pay his respects to the victims of a recent mass shooting.
“I have lots of protesters all the time and even my friends protest me from time to time, so I’m glad that they’re using their right to give free speech comment,” Democratic mayor Nan Whaley told reporters on Tuesday. “Look, I know that [Trump has] made this bed and he’s got to lie in it.”
“His rhetoric has been painful for many in our community,” she continued. “I think the people should stand up and say they’re not happy if they’re not happy that he’s coming.”
Whaley’s comments come on the heels of a mass shooting that occurred in Dayton over the weekend. A gunman took the lives of nine people and injured more than 30 others after he opened fire on a crowd outside of a bar early Sunday morning.
Following the tragedy, Trump addressed the nation, urging all Americans to come together to condemn racism, and called for bipartisan cooperation on determining potential solutions to a recent slew of mass shootings.
“These barbaric slaughters are an assault upon our communities, an attack upon our nation, and a crime against all of humanity,” Trump said at the time. “We are outraged and sickened by this monstrous evil, the cruelty, the hatred, the malice, the bloodshed, and the terror.”
Whaley referred to Trump’s remarks as “unhelpful” and further noted that she intended to tell him that face-to-face when he arrived in the Ohio town.
“I’m disappointed with his remarks, I mean, I think they fall really short. He mentioned, like, gun issues one time,” Whaley said. “I think watching the president over the past few years on the issues of guns, I don’t know if he knows what he believes, frankly.”
The Dayton mayor confirmed that Trump had reached out to her on the day of the shooting and stated that he would be traveling to Ohio to visit the victims. He would also be meeting with the mayor’s office upon his arrival.
“I have no sense of what’s in President Trump’s mind at all,” Whaley said. “I can only hope that as president of the United States that he’s coming here because he wants to add value to our community, and he recognizes that that’s what our community needs. That’s all I can hope.”
However, she later took a shot at the president for a gaffe he made during his address to the nation. The scripted remarks erroneously made one reference to the mass shooting in Toledo, rather than Dayton.
“He didn’t tell me, he said sometime this week,” Whaley replied when asked when the president was arriving. “I mean, I’ve heard that he’s coming Wednesday, but I’ve not gotten a call. And you know, he might be going to Toledo, I don’t know.”