Everybody Hurts, But Dayton Remains Strong As President Donald Trump Arrives At Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

Published on August 7, 2019

Dayton, OH—On Wednesday, President Trump visited Dayton, Ohio, arriving at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB), approximately around 11:00 a.m.. This was the first of his two scheduled stops Wednesday, heading out to El Paso after he met with the families and victims from Sunday morning’s shooting at the Oregon District’s Ned Peppers bar, at Miami Valley Hospital.

The shooter, identified as 24-year-old Connor Betts of Bellbrook, Ohio, was shot and killed by the Dayton Police Department. As hard as it is to find light at the end of the Oregon District’s tunnel, Dayton police, who were already in the area, responded immediately, located Betts and killed him within 30 seconds.

It goes without saying, but has been continuously re-emphasized by Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, that the quick response by Dayton police “saved literally hundreds of lives.”

Ohio has had an extremely rough six months, beginning with the Ku Klux Klan rally in May, then days later, twelve ferocious tornadoes destroyed the lives of hundreds of Dayton residents. And now, the latest tragedy to strike the local Ohio region required the city of 140,000 people to unite together as it is mourning and paying its respects to the nine people who lost their lives and 27 others who were injured outside of Ned Peppers Bar on East Fifth Street in Dayton early Sunday morning.

While Dayton’s neighborhoods may still be somewhat divided along racial lines as of one nation’s most segregated cities dating back to the 1960 race riots, diversity was embraced in the Oregon District–where college students, hippies, musicians, lawyers, business men and women, and teachers all interact with one another until all hours of the night.

Air Force One Arrives At Wright Patterson Air Force Base

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, in Dayton, Ohio to visit with families of victims of the mass shooting that took place here on Sunday. (Andrew Rossow/Grit Daily) Grit Daily co-founder, Andrew Rossow in front of Air Force One (Andrew Rossow/Grit Daily)

Grit Daily was granted access by The White House to enter onto WPAFB and watch as Air Force One made its arrival on the tarmac. As a Dayton resident, this was extremely close to home for me, so the opportunity to cover President Trump’s arrival, was extremely meaningful.

You can watch the full video of Air Force One landing at WPAFB here:

Trump and First Lady, Melania Trump, were greeted by local officials, including Ohio Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and his wife Fran DeWine, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, and Congressman Mike Turner and his daughter Jessica Turner.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to talk about once Air Force One landed at WPAFB. The president did not speak to the press, nor did he visit the Oregon District, where a large number of people gathered, including former Ohio governor, John Kasich. For many press members, including Grit Daily, this was a memorable opportunity, as it was the first time having an ability to witness Air Force One entering Dayton airspace and landing on the tarmac approximately 150 feet in front of us.

President Donald Trump waves at the press as he prepares to depart WPAFB to head to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. (Andrew Rossow/Grit Daily)

Soon after getting into his vehicle with Ohio Governor, Mike DeWine and his wife, Fran DeWine, President Trump headed to Miami Valley Hospital for a series of meetings with first responders, hospital staff, and survivors of Sunday’s horrific massacre.

Miami Valley Hospital: “You Had God Watching”

As President Trump walked through Miami Valley Hospital, first responders, hospital staff, and survivors greeted him warmly. According to Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham’s Twitter account, President Trump and First Lady, Melania Trump, met with patients, stopping between rooms to thank the hardworking medical staff.

“You had God watching. I want you to know we’re with you all the way,” the president told some of the patients.

But don’t worry, the chants of dozens of protesters could still be heard outside yelling, “Hey Hey , Ho Ho, Donald Trump has got to go.” Trump has been blamed for the rise of hate-inspired attacks, such as El Paso and Dayton, on grounds that his rhetoric on race and immigration has contributed to the violence.

Dismissing these claims, Trump believes his rhetoric has brought people together. He expressed his “concern about the rise of any group of hate.”

“I don’t like it,” he said, “whether it’s white supremacy, whether it’s any other kind of supremacy.”

Following Ohio Governor DeWine’s orders, all flags are at half-mass, in memory of all those lives taken early Sunday.

Dayton Stands Strong

The tragic mass shooting in Dayton’s Oregon District has continued to inspire the Dayton community to stand together and support eachother.

Esther Price Candies, headquartered here in Dayton for over ninety-three years, announced that 100% of today’s store and website sales will be donated to the Oregon District Tragedy Fund, setup by The Dayton Foundation.

Esther Price has been here for 93 years and we are a staple in Dayton,” said Esther Price Accountant, Peggy Weaver. “We feel that we need to help the community and help give back to people in need. We donate a lot of candy every year and this is some way that we can help the victims and the families and give back to them.”

Late Wednesday evening, The Cincinnati Bengals, along with the NFL Foundation, announced that it will be donating $75,000 to the Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund to help those impacted by the mass shooting.

Dayton is part of our community and we are saddened by the tragic events that took place this weekend,” said Bengals Executive Vice President Katie Blackburn. “Our thoughts are with the victims, their families, and all of those affected.

All pictures taken by Andrew Rossow, live from Wright Patterson Air Force Base, and have been authorized by The White House. Thank you to The White House Staff, including Laura-Lee Lewis, for allowing us entry.

Updated: Aug 7, 2019 / 7:02 PM EDT

Andrew "Drew" Rossow is a former contract editor at Grit Daily.

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