Mayor Nan Whaley, grappling with the aftermath of a mass shooting this month in which nine people were killed, received a torrent of threats and abusive comments after the president traveled to the city to visit with victims and meet with local leaders.
In a press conference following Trump’s visit, Whaley and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) discussed the need for more gun control. Brown also called Trump’s visit “comforting,” and Whaley said that first responders and victims were “grateful the president of the United States came to Dayton.”
Trump, however, lashed Whaley and Brown, calling them “very dishonest people” for “misrepresenting” his visit. He also tweeted that their press conference was a “fraud.” Some speculated that Trump may have been parroting a perspective he heard on Fox News.
“I turn on the television and there they are saying, ‘Well, I don’t know if it was appropriate for the president to be here. You know, etc., etc. You know, the same old line,’” Trump told reporters after his visit. “They’re very dishonest people and that’s probably why [Brown] got, I think, about zero percent, that he failed as a presidential candidate.”
Following Trump’s comments, Whaley received numerous threatening emails, phone calls and social media messages. According to The Dayton Daily News, one of the many abusive messages sent to Whaley warned: “Get the hell out of this country you disrespectful trash. Treason is death.”
An extra team of two detectives was assigned to her around the clock for six days after Trump’s comments, the newspaper reported Friday.
Whaley also tweeted that she was surprised by Trump’s insults:
Whaley later described Trump as a “bully and a coward” for the way he attacked her and Brown:
Whaley said she was just doing her job when she called for more gun control in the wake of the mass shooting in her city.
“I respected the president and the office of the president, but I strongly want him to do something and the people of Dayton want him to do something, and so it’s my job to say that,” she told the newspaper.