Andre and Jordan Anchondo were getting ready for a celebratory barbecue with friends and family when they decided to stop at the El Paso Walmart for supplies.
The family was celebrating the 6th birthday of their daughter, their first wedding anniversary as well as the completion of their new home. However, the young couple would never return back home.
The Anchondos found themselves in the midst of chaos when a shooter, who will not be named, opened fire taking the lives of 22 people.
Andre died shielding his wife Jordan who was in turn shielding their 2-month-old baby Paul. Both parents were killed.
Little Paul suffered two broken fingers however, due to his parents’ selflessness, he was otherwise alright.
Since the shooting, Andre’s brother Tito Anchondo and his family is now caring for baby Paul and planning to make it a long term role of raising the little one. According to NPR, he says he now is driven to “to tell him that his father died a hero saving his life.”
When the President and the First Lady travelled to Texas to meet with victims of the shooting, the Anchondo’s handed little Paul to Melania so the First Family and the Anchondo’s could honor the memory of Andre and Jordan together.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) August 8, 2019
Tito says of the gathering:
“He was there as a human being, consoling us and giving us condolences.”
He says the President “wasn’t there pushing any political agenda.”
However, while the Anchondo family is trying to forge forward despite unspeakable loss, some have taken to social media to not only criticize the family for meeting with the President but have even gone as far as to make death threats against the Anchondos.
The same family which was just shaken by unfathomable death for are now receiving death threats by anti-Trump extremists for taking a photo.
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In a panel hosted by CNN, one panelist stated:
“What you have here is a picture of a president who has an empathy deficit. He keeps acting like a malfunctioning automation with these opportunities… it’s not too much to expect that the president would act like a normal human being.”
However, Tito Anchondo believes that President Trump is more sincere that he is being given credit for and thinks that critics take his statements the wrong way.
“And yes, maybe he said things in bad taste. But I think people are misconstruing President Trump’s ideas.”
Anchondo further states that his family are conservative Republicans and that “my brother was very supportive of Trump.”
According to the Washington Post, Pablo Pinto, a director of the Center for Public Policy at the University of Houston says:
“Those who haven’t been shaken by that are hardly going to be shaken by what happened… People who had voted Republican will continue voting Republican and tend to buy into this rhetoric that getting into the country illegally shouldn’t be rewarded.”
Despite Pinto’s academic assessment, the Anchondo’s have made their own judgements about the President’s visit as well as his policies and are capable of discerning whether or not they support the President.
While the media blames Trump for fueling the shooter’s ideology, the Anchondos have chosen to be accepting of the President’s condolences.
Despite death threats made by members of the public, Tito Anchondo said to the Houston Chronicle “We should be coming together as a country at this time instead of threatening each other with messages of hate.”