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President Trump speaks to the media as he visits the emergency operations center in El Paso. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump met with first responders and survivors of last weekend's mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, Wednesday, in a visit he hailed as "incredible." But it was also marked by divisive rhetoric against the media and political rivals — including local politicians.

Details: In a series of tweets after visiting victims of the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, Trump accused Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley of lying in a press conference, insulted 2020 candidate Joe Biden as "boring," and called Fox News' Shep Smith worse than "Fake News CNN."

The big picture: Trump, facing scrutiny about the degree to which his rhetoric has exacerbated the country's hate problem, visited victims in both Dayton and El Paso, Texas, where mass shootings this weekend left a combined 31 people dead. Critics have raised questions about his ability to function as "consoler in chief" during moments of national tragedy.

Trump on Biden: "Watching Sleepy Joe Biden making a speech. Sooo Boring! The LameStream Media will die in the ratings and clicks with this guy. It will be over for them, not to mention the fact that our Country will do poorly with him. It will be one big crash, but at least China will be happy!"

  • Context: In a speech Wednesday, Biden claimed that Trump has "fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation. ... How far is it from Trump's saying this 'is an invasion' to the shooter in El Paso declaring 'his attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas?' Not far at all."

Trump on Brown and Whaley: "Just left Dayton, Ohio, where I met with the Victims & families, Law Enforcement, Medical Staff & First Responders. It was a warm & wonderful visit. Tremendous enthusiasm & even Love. Then I saw failed Presidential Candidate (0%) Sherrod Brown & Mayor Whaley totally misrepresenting what took place inside of the hospital. Their news conference after I left for El Paso was a fraud. It bore no resemblance to what took place with those incredible people that I was so lucky to meet and spend time with. They were all amazing!"

  • Context: Brown, a frequent critic of Trump, said that the president "was received well by the patients...They were hurting, he was comforting. He did the right things, Melania did the right things." He added during the press conference that he urged Trump to get Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to vote on background checks and not to repeal the Affordable Care Act for mental health reasons.
    • Of note: Brown was considering a run for president in 2020, but ultimately did not declare.
  • Whaley, meanwhile, did not directly attack Trump, but questioned whether he was serious about taking action on gun control: "I'm hoping, for the people of Dayton, that he does, but both the senator and I spoke very directly what we've been saying the whole time about the need for common-sense gun legislation."
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Trump on Shep Smith: "Watching Fake News CNN is better than watching Shepard Smith, the lowest rated show on @FoxNews. Actually, whenever possible, I turn to @OANN!"

  • Context: Smith, one of the rare Fox News hosts who has not hesitated to criticize Trump, said on his show: "Thus far, they’ve not allowed the press corps to come with them saying it’s not a photo op. Instead, the White House releasing its own pictures of the president’s activities today while keeping the media away. John Roberts is at the White House for us this afternoon. Striking contrast there, John."

Go deeper ... Trump on mass shootings: Hate has no place in our country

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest — triggering widespread power outages and flooding.

Why it matters: The strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood.

“You blew it”: GOP activist turns on corporations over vaccine mandates

The chairman of the American Conservative Union said on "Axios on HBO" he accepts "Joe Biden is my president, and I want him to succeed," but predicted Republicans retake the House and Senate in 2022 — with greater than 50% odds Donald Trump runs in 2024.

The big picture: In a joint interview with his wife, Mercedes, Matt Schlapp also refused to share their vaccination status. And he told corporate America "you blew it" by embracing vaccine mandates and liberal social stances that have alienated GOP voters and politicians.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Pelosi expects “billionaire’s tax” to pay for Biden social spending

Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday she expects the chamber to pass the bipartisan infrastructure plan by week’s end, and alternatives to corporate tax hikes and a “billionaires tax” will be used to finance President Biden’s promised expansion to the social safety net.

Why it matters: Pelosi’s comments come as House and Senate leaders try to wrap up a deal. What will get cut — and how the remainder will be paid — are linchpins to a final agreement.