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Presidential Historian Compiles the Ways Other Presidents Have Reacted to National Tragedies, and It Says Everything About Trump

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 07: President Donald Trump speaks to members of the press before departing from the White House en route to Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas on August 7, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump is will visit the two cities to meet with victims and law enforcement following a pair of deadly shooting attacks last weekend. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

The nation is still in mourning after two mass shootings in one weekend resulted in the deaths of 31 people in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

President Donald Trump visited victims, first responders, and law enforcement in the cities on Wednesday. According to the president's social media director, Dan Scavino, Trump was treated like a "rock star" on his visit to Dayton.

In between tweets of photos smiling with hospital workers, Trump lashed out at former Vice President Joe Biden, Senators Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Fox News host Shepard Smith, the "failing New York Times," "Fake news CNN," the "lamestream media," Ohio senator Sherrod Brown (D) and Mayor of Dayton Nan Whaley.

In other words, Trump saw no need to rise above his usual divisive rhetoric during a moment of national grief.

While this seems standard now, presidential historian David Priess reminded his Twitter followers of a time when it wasn't; a time when even presidents whose policies and viewpoints were flawed or downright harmful could still find ways to comfort the nation in some way.

He recounted the reactions from the darkest moments in American history, from the bloodshed at Gettysburg... the Challenger explosion.

And onward.

He concluded with this:

Many Americans feel the divide has instead deepened in the wake of a deadly weekend. Much of it due to Trump's seeming self-absorption contrasted by the words of better men.

They thanked Priess, however, for reminding them of better times.

For his part, Trump spoke to emergency workers in El Paso about the crowd size of a rally he held there last year, dismissing the crowd size of former El Paso Congressman and current presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke's counter-rally.

Though press wasn't allowed in the hospital where Trump visited victims, his team ended up making an elaborate campaign video featuring the visits.