‘Do Something’: Trump gets bristly reaction from protesters in Dayton, Ohio
“Your Hatred is not welcome in Dayton.”
“No Trump Zone.
The signs held by people protesting U.S. President Donald Trump’s visits to two cities marred by mass shootings are a sharp indicator the president did not receive a warm welcome.
On Wednesday, at least 200 protesters gathered in Dayton, Ohio — where nine people were killed in a deadly rampage — as Trump visited survivors and first responders.
The now-infamous “baby Trump” blimp balloon floated among them.
WATCH: Protesters in El Paso say Trump’s rhetoric isn’t welcome in wake of shootings
A similar scene awaited him in El Paso, Texas, where crowds gathered at a rally protesting and condemning his visit.
Trump’s trips to Dayton and El Paso have been met with uncertainty, as critics accuse him of inflaming tensions and dividing the country with anti-immigrant and racially charged rhetoric.
In El Paso, a suspect reportedly posted an anti-immigrant manifesto online before a Walmart store fell under gunfire. Twenty-two people were killed, and the suspected shooter was apprehended alive.
WATCH: ‘Do something!’: protesters lash out at Trump motorcade as it leaves hospital in Dayton, Ohio
The massacre in Dayton unfolded just 13 hours later. Local police later confirmed they had obtained evidence on the suspect that suggested he had an obsession with “violent ideations.”
Protesters set up across the street from the Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton on Wednesday chanted “No more hate!” and “Dayton strong!” as black SUVs drove by. Later, they opted for a song: “Hey, hey, ho, ho! Donald Trump has got to go!”
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown met with Trump during his short visit.
WATCH: Caravan of ‘Trump 2020’ vehicles drive through Dayton, Ohio as president visits
Both said they reiterated the importance of urgent action surrounding gun laws.
Brown said he put pressure on Trump to move faster on signing a bill that would put background checks in place, but suggested that the president’s response was passive.
“He only said that, ‘We will get things done,’” Sherrod said at a news conference following the meeting.
WATCH: Trump claims he has ‘toned down’ rhetoric in wake of mass shootings
Trump did not stop in the Oregon District, where the shooting took place and where vigils were held over the weekend.
Whaley believes that was the right move, saying, “A lot of his time his talk can be very divisive and that’s the last thing we need in Dayton.”
She seemed to express a loss of hope in the federal government.
“Do I think that we’re going to see another mass shooting tomorrow or Friday? Probably. Because Washington will not move,” she said. “Too often we see complete inaction because they’re waiting for people to forget that nine people died in Dayton… because of a gun that shouldn’t be legal, frankly.”
WATCH: Mayor of El Paso says he’s focusing on shooting victims
When asked if both sides of the aisle are to blame for failing to find a solution to mass shootings, Brown said no.
“We can’t get anything done in the Senate because Mitch McConnell and the president of the United States are in bed with the gun lobby,” he said, referring to the NRA.
“You can call it gridlock but it’s because of that special interest group, that swamp that has a lock on the government.”
WATCH: Trump says mayor of Dayton ‘shouldn’t be politicking’
A protest has been organized there for Wednesday as well.
Trump later took to Twitter to criticize both Whaley and Brown, writing that the news conference they held afterwards was “a fraud. It bore no resemblance to what took place.”
Trump also told reporters during his visit to the El Paso operations center that the two Democrats “should not be politicking today.”
Fernando Garcia of Border Network for Human Rights told Global News that Trump is not welcome in grief-stricken El Paso, either.
“There is a responsibility from the president. There is a feeling among the members of our community that these victims are dead because [of] the president’s words,” Garcia, who helped organize the demonstration, said.
“So we cannot welcome the president — he is not welcome in El Paso.”
Garcia’s criticism of the presidential visit has been echoed by others in the El Paso community, both political and civilian, who want the president to stay home.
El Paso congresswoman Rep. Veronica Escobar and Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke have both publicly said Trump is not welcome in their hometown.
Trump snapped back at O’Rourke on Twitter, telling him to “respect the victims & law enforcement — & be quiet!”
Prior to Trump’s visit, El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said he will meet with Trump but suggested both parties are doing so out of obligation.
“I’m going to meet with him as the mayor of El Paso, representing all of El Paso,” he said.
“He’s fulfilling the office of the president of the United States, which he was elected to do, and it would be my fiduciary obligation to meet with him and, frankly, it was his obligation to come down here.”
Margo acknowledged that Trump’s condemnation of white supremacy in the wake of the shootings was “positive and correct” but said the motivation behind the attack in the city isn’t his prime focus at the moment.
WATCH: White House says it’s ‘ridiculous’ to blame El Paso shooting on Trump
“I’m sitting here focused on 22 folks from our region who have perished in an evil act, and we’re going to get through those funerals,” he told Global News.
Garcia believes Trump’s rhetoric on immigrants — “calling us criminals, rapists, saying immigrants represent national security threats” — are fuelling the problems.
“We said it, even before this terror attack, that there is a war against immigrants fuelled by the president’s rhetoric,” he said.
“He refused to accept responsibility. Instead of changing what he’s doing — that is causing too much harm in our communities — he continues to do exactly the same, dividing communities, blaming others by not taking responsibility. That is not acceptable to us.”
When asked if Trump will ever be welcome, Garcia’s response was pointed.
“He’s not welcome until he repents… until he asks for forgiveness,” he said.
“He’s not welcome until he changes his policies and his rhetoric.”
WATCH: El Paso shooting survivor ‘grateful’ he’s alive
As he left the White House on Wednesday, Trump defended his rhetoric while strongly criticizing those who say he bear some responsibility for the nation’s divisions.
He also denied his rhetoric had anything to do with the violence, claiming instead that he “brings people together. Our country is doing incredibly well.”
Trump previously declared the acts barbaric crimes “against all humanity” and called for unity to respond to an epidemic of gun violence.
WATCH: Kellyanne Conway says Trump trying to “turn down the temperature” on hate
He blamed mental illness and video games, but his intentions regarding laws on firearms sales in the U.S. remain blurry.
He told reporters Wednesday he was looking into background checks.
“There’s a great appetite, and I mean a very strong appetite, for background checks, and I think we can bring up background checks like we’ve never had before,” he said. “I think both Republican and Democrat are getting close to a bill on doing something with background checks.”
WATCH: Protest organizer says Trump’s rhetoric is to blame in El Paso shooting
— With files from Global News’ Jackson Proskow, the Associated Press and Reuters
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.