Controversy over Trump's visits to grieving Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas

The president visited the two cities recovering from mass shootings that claimed the lives of at least 31 people. Residents and lawmakers had their own takes on whether the visits were appropriate.
8:56 | 08/08/19

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Transcript for Controversy over Trump's visits to grieving Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas
Now the boisterous calls for change as the presidential comments ramp up the rhetoric. Grabbing people, telling them to get down. Stay safe. Reporter: In Dayton, Ohio, Jeremy Granger is a hero. When terror struck Dayton overnight Saturday, it sent hundreds of people running. But Granger, a bouncer at Ned peppers bar was one of the few who stood still. This footage shows the gunman. He had a dead stare. Reporter: Investigators in Ohio are still looking for a motive as to why the alleged shooter, Connor BETTs opened fire. Ganger had pushed as many people as he could grab into the far. About 200 people inside. I would have died before that guy came N no way I was going to let anybody get hurt. I was going to stand my ground the best I could. Reporter: Amidst the chaos, ganger was hit by shrapnel and taken to the hospital. He was there for three days. The metal still remains in his leg. That's incredible that you weren't hurt more standing right there, because people were telling us the shell casings were flying off. Yeah, they were flying, hit me. I felt something bit me at first. Reporter: You feel pretty lucky? I am lucky. I'd do it again, though. Reporter: It's been four days since two deadly mass shootings shook the nation, leaving at least 31 dead and 53 injured. The country reeling from its 17th active shooter event this year. The president playing the role of consoler in chief, crisscrossing the country visiting Dayton and El Paso, two cities forever linked by a weekend of horror. 22 people died in El Paso where the president was this afternoon, thanking about 200 law enforcement personnel waiting to greet him at an emergency operation center. What a job you did. Thank you, sir. There are a lot of heroes. A lot of people did incredible work. Reporter: It's the only time he addressed the media all day, mostly remaining out of the public eye and away from the press. Let's see if we can get something done, and Republicans want to do it and Democrats want to do did. Reporter: Trump stayed out of view while visiting university medical center where riot police were on the ready to respond to angry protesters. Earlier in the day, the president touched down in Dayton, Ohio, where hundreds of protesters lined the streets. Not one more! Not one more! Reporter: Miami valley hospital releasing this image of the president and first lady's visit, greeting staff there. President trump spoke briefly to reporters this morning, suggesting he might be able to help unite leaders when it comes to background checks. I think background checks are important. I don't want to put guns into the hands of mentally unstable people or people with rage or hate. Reporter: Presidential candidate Joe Biden slamming trump during a campaign rally in Iowa. He says guns are not the problem in mass shootings. The issue is mental health. It's a dodge. Hatred isn't a mental health issue. Reporter: The former vice president also taking on what he called the president's toxic tongue. Is both clear language and in code. This president has fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation. Run, run. Reporter: In El Paso, authorities say the alleged shooter was motivated by racism and anti-immigrant hatred. 20 minutes before the Walmart massacre, he laid out his plans in a hate-filled rant on 8chan, decrying what he referenced as a hispanic invasion of Texas. On Monday, trump addressed the nation, condemning the actions of the shooter. In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Reporter: Democratic candidates running against trump have pointed to the president's anti-immigrant rhetoric as having contributed to violence, including at some of his rallies. In Panama City, beach, Florida, the president joked about migrants crossing the border. But how do you stop these people? You can't. There's -- that's only in the panhandle you can get away that stuff. This president, who has sought to make this country afraid of places like El Paso, and people who live here. And immigrants specifically, who he's described as rapists and criminals, he is in large part responsible for what has taken place. Reporter: Earlier today, president trump dismissed his critics. I don't think my rhetoric has at all. I think my rhetoric brings people together. I am concerned about the rise of any group of hate. I don't like it. Reporter: Opposition to the president was apparent in both cities today. It's been a full night and day of preparation for dawn and her son who organized today's el Paso strong rally. We can show the nation that El Paso is a strong, beautiful, welcoming, helpful, loving community. That we're angry, and we're Reporter: At the rally, that message of strength mixed with anger and hurt written on their signs, presidential candidate Beto O'rourke took the stage, speaking to the people of his former congressional district. We live in a country that is not safe, that refuses to pass laws to end gun violence in the United States. We live in a country where we have a president who demonizes communities like this one. Reporter: Here in El Paso Saturday morning, 22 people were killed and dozens more were injured after a gunman opened fire in this Walmart, striking down people as he walked into the store. People hiding, pleading for their lives. Sylvia was having breakfast with her mother inside the store when suddenly she says people started running. That's when I heard the gunshots. I mine very clear and very close to me. Reporter: They dove under the benches. Sylvia recording this video. I was begging god to help us and help everybody and to please stop that demon with the gun. Reporter: Now a few days after the attack, with her mother by her side, she is trying to regain a sense of normalcy. It's going to be so hard for us to get over it. Reporter: But it's a long road ahead, and even the most routine of actions now bring flashbacks. Odd rhea and her mother are returning to Walmart in hopes of getting her car. I'm getting nervous just to think that we are going back to Walmart again. Reporter: They were shopping together in the Walmart when the shooting began. I saw his expression. He was like, he didn't care what he was doing. He was just shooting and shooting. Reporter: As a military wife, Audria says instinct kicked in and she tried to save those around her. You want to do everything you can, but then you realize you can't save everybody. Reporter: Back in the parking lot, the memories of that day start flooding back. Just going back here is just bringing us flashbacks. We ran all this, and I got more than 50 people out of there. Reporter: Audria's told she'll have to wait a little longer to get her car. The city of El Paso looks toward the future determined to not let tragedy define them. My town, we're going to be strong, and we're going to get through this. Reporter: For "Nightline," I'm Eva pilgrim.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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