In televised remarks from the White House Diplomatic Reception Room this morning, President Trump spoke about the mass shooting that took place yesterday at a high school in Parkland, Florida. He called it “the scene of terrible violence, hatred, and evil.” He had a special message for the nation’s schoolchildren, telling them to turn to trusted members of the community if they feel “lost, alone, confused, or even scared.”
The accused shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, murdered 17 people and badly wounded at least 14 others.
“No child, no teacher, should ever be in danger in an American school,” Trump said. “No parent should ever have to fear for their sons and daughters when they kiss them goodbye in the morning.”
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The president thanked local law enforcement, first responders, and the teachers, saying they “responded so bravely in the face of danger.”
“We thank you for your courage,” he said. “Soon after the shooting, I spoke with Governor Scott to convey our deepest sympathies to the people of Florida and our determination to assist in any way that we can. I also spoke with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.”
The president also announced plans to visit Parkland and to meet with families and local officials, and also “to continue coordinating the federal response.”
“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,” he continued. “Answer hate with love; answer cruelty with kindness.”
The president added, “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.”
He then addressed proactive steps his administration was taking in the wake of the second mass school shooting of 2018.
“Our administration is working closely with local authorities to investigate the shooting and learn everything we can,” Trump said. “We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools, and tackle the difficult issue of mental health.”
“Later this month, I will be meeting with the nation’s governors and attorney generals, where making our schools and our children safer will be our top priority. It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference. We must actually make that difference,” the president declared.
In his closing words, the president stressed the importance of faith, family, and community in combating the forces of hatred and evil.
“In times of tragedy, the bonds that sustain us are those of family, faith, community, and country,” he said. “These bonds are stronger than the forces of hatred and evil, and these bonds grow even stronger in the hours of our greatest need.”
“And so always, but especially today, let us hold our loved ones close, let us pray for healing and for peace, and let us come together as one nation to wipe away the tears and strive for a much better tomorrow,” Trump concluded.