One of the most gut wrenching stories about the El Paso gun violence last Saturday was the death of Andre and Jordan Anchondo, who were killed shielding their 2 month-old baby, Paul, from the gunfire. Paul survived, but had two broken fingers. He was treated in hospital and released to Andre’s brother, Tito.
The Washington Post reported that both Andre and Jordan Anchondo and Tito Anchondo are Republicans and Trump supporters. As I said in my last blog post, everybody is a target now. The Anchondos were in Walmart buying school supplies. The gunman didn’t ask anybody’s political affiliations, he was there to shoot Mexican invaders.
The New York Times reported that Trump was incensed by press coverage of his Dayton visit. With Trump flying to El Paso, the advance staff at the University Medical Center of El Paso had a problem. None of the six shooting victims still being treated would agree to meet with Trump. The desperate advance staff brought in one victim who had been treated and released; that person was willing to meet with Trump. They also invited Tito Anchondo and his sister to bring in baby Paul.
The Washington Post stated that Tito Anchondo was very happy with the Trumps and felt “consoled” by the meeting. Then they posed for this now-famous photograph.
What’s my take on this? The photo is clearly bad optics. The Trumps don’t look particularly empathetic in this pose. The backstory indicates that the Trumps were kind to Tito Anchondo.
Trump has screeched “Mexican invaders” 29 times in his rallies and speeches. Now the nuts with assault weapons have come out of the woodwork to act on his scapegoating. The problem is that we are all now targets. The sad case of the Anchondos is a heartbreaking example of today’s new reality.