Las Vegas survivor faces backlash after standing to greet President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump
By Aris Folley, AOL.com
Jan 21st, 2019 at 3:48PM
Thomas Gunderson shot in the leg during the Las Vegas massacre on Sunday found the strength to stand for President Trump when he visited recovering victims in the hospital earlier this week.
The president and first lady Melania Trump visited Gunderson, who was among the more than 500 people wounded at the Route 91 Harvest Festival last weekend, at the city’s University Medical Center on Wednesday, where they posed for photographs and chatted.
RELATED: Donald and Melania Trump visit Las Vegas following music festival shooting
The 28-year-old from Newport Beach, California, took to Facebook shortly after to post a video of the encounter which later went viral, writing: “I will never lie down when the President of this great country comes to shake my hand!
“There may be plenty of issues in this country but I will always respect my country, my president, and my flag. Shot in the leg or not, I will stand to show my president the respect he deserves!”
Since then, Gunderson has received an overwhelming amount of positive responses and well wishes. But the survivor has also received a lot of negative reactions from Facebook users who were critical of his choice to stand for the president.
"I wouldn't stand, he hasn't earned respect," one user wrote, while another simply posted: "Oh don't turn your back to him phew!!!"
Some even saw Gunderson's choice to stand as a political statement after NFL players across the league chose to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.
Gunderson responded to critics in a separate post later this week, in which he said he prepared his family beforehand for the "backlash and hateful comments" he expected after the viral video and called out commenters he claimed wanted to "cause divide."
Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.
Due to EU data protection laws, we (Oath), our vendors and our partners need your consent to set cookies on your device and collect data about how you use Oath products and services. Oath uses the data to better understand your interests, provide relevant experiences, and personalised advertisements on Oath products (and in some cases, partner products). Learn more about our data uses and your choices here.