One metric by which presidents are judged is how they react to the inevitable tragic circumstances that come up during their times in office. President Trump is no different, and the school shooting in Florida that left 17 people dead and another 15 injured has forced him to react to a tragedy that has become all too common in the U.S. His period of mourning, however, has not followed the typical pattern so far. After meeting Florida shooting victims, Trump went to a disco party at his Florida resort Mar-A-Lago.
This wasn't the first of what many people thought were questionable reactions to the devastating shooting at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
In the first speech he gave, Trump placed the onus for the shooting on mental health issues without mentioning the role of a semiautomatic assault weapon in the attack. His son Eric tweeted what people called a tone-deaf video of Marine One landing at Mar-A-Lago. Then, when he visited victims still recovering at the hospital, Trump posed for photos with his standard thumbs-up pose.
He didn't finish his day there, however. Instead, he followed up the hospital visit with a stop at the disco party going on at Mar-A-Lago.
Instagram user Sean Bianca initially posted a photo of the president at the party, but the Huffington Post reports that she later took down the photo and made her account private. However, the reported photo was screenshot by several people.
“Please take note that the President did NOT dance,” Huffington Post reports Bianca as writing on Instagram before she removed the post. “He and the First Lady were there for a short time but neither was dancing around as one should have expected. Their mood was somber and they were there for a very short time.”
CNN reporter Kevin Liptak backed up that information in a tweet, saying that "President Trump and the First Lady stopped by a Studio 54-themed disco party in the ballroom at Mar-a-Lago last night after returning from the Broward sheriff’s department." Studio 54 was a luxurious nightclub famous in the 1970s, and Mar-A-Lago was decorated to mimic that atmosphere.
Huffington Post also writes that another fellow disco part attendee, Florida bankruptcy lawyer David Lloyd Merrill, also confirmed Trump's presence with a post on Facebook. “So the president did arrive,” he wrote. “I couldn’t meet him or speak but was about 3’ away. Super cool no matter what your political affiliation!”
The White House has made it clear that the president's "somber" mood wouldn't only affect his evening at the disco party. "The president will not be golfing on this sunny Saturday in Palm Beach," wrote Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Jacobs on Twitter. "White House wants to respect the dead and the mourners, I’m told. Mar-a-Lago is only about half an hour from the site of the Parkland school shooting, and memorial services continue."
The president has already received derision for announcing this decision, with commentators saying that it's a small sacrifice to make when he's already played at least 44 rounds of golf during his tenure as president and nearby parents are still in the early stages of mourning their children. Trump himself didn't give many details of his trip to Florida, only posting those smiling pictures of himself with the victims and first responders and tweeting about his visit, saying "Melania and I met such incredible people last night in Broward County, Florida. Will never forget them, or the evening!"
Trump didn't mention the disco party, his decision not to play golf, or even his trip to Mar-A-Lago on Twitter. Instead, he just focused on the short time that he spent with those involved with the Florida shooting.