In the wake of Florida school shooting that killed 17 people on Wednesday, President Donald Trump called for the nation to “work together to create a culture in our country that embraces the dignity of life,” adding that his administration will be focusing on working to improve school safety and “tackle the difficult issue of mental health.”
“My fellow Americans, today I speak to a nation in grief.,” Trump said from the White House Diplomatic Room. “Yesterday, a school filled with innocent children and caring teachers became the scene of terrible violence, hatred, and evil. Our entire nation, with one heavy heart, is praying for the victims and their families.”
“We must also work together to create a culture in our country that embraces the dignity of life, that creates deep and meaningful human connections, and that turns classmates and colleagues into friends and neighbors,” Trump added. “Our administration is working closely with local authorities to investigate the shooting and learn everything we can. We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools, and tackle the difficult issue of mental health.”
During his six minute public remark since the shooting, Trump praised teachers and first responders while consoling victims shaken from the horrific mass school shooting since Sandy Hook in 2012. Directing his speech to the victims, the president turned to the God’s word of scripture and asked the young children to turn to “a teacher, a family member, a local police officer, or a faith leader” for help.
“I want to speak now directly to America’s children, especially those who feel lost, alone, confused or even scared: I want you to know that you are never alone and you never will be,” Trump said. “You have people who care about you, who love you, and who will do anything at all to protect you. If you need help, turn to a teacher, a family member, a local police officer, or a faith leader. Answer hate with love; answer cruelty with kindness.”
In the past, Trump emphasized how mental health plays a role in mass shootings, not the need for new gun laws. He made no reference of gun control during his remarks, stating that action alone is not enough to make a difference.
“It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference. We must actually make that difference,” Trump said.
Before his speech, Trump tweeted how the gunman has “so many signs” that he was “mentally disturbed.”
So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2018
On Wednesday afternoon, a 19 year-old gunman, Nikolas Cruz, opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killing 17 people and wounding 14. The gunman was expelled from the high school for unspecified disciplinary reasons. On social media, the former-student made threatening “disturbing” comments, saying in a YouTube post that he would be a “professional school shooter.” The shooter was arrested nearby two hours later after sneaking out with the frightened crowd of students, according to the local sheriff’s office. He was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, one for each killed and is being held without bail.
Trump said he is “making plans to visit” Parkland to meet families and local officials, but it is unclear as to when the trip will happen. He was scheduled to visit Orlando, Florida this Friday to promote his infrastructure plan, as well as next week Thursday to Ambridge, Pennsylvania, but the White House announced that the event is cancelled. His re-election campaign has also postponed a political rally planned for next Wednesday in Ambridge, Pennsylvania.
“This decision was reached out of respect and sympathy for the victims and survivors of the high school shooting attack in Parkland, Florida, and their family members,” the campaign said in a statement.