President Trump limited his public response to the
“My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting,” Trump first tweeted. “No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.”
Moments later, the president sent out a second message to his 47.8 million followers. “Just spoke to Governor Rick Scott. We are working closely with law enforcement on the terrible Florida school shooting,” the president wrote.
In the hours that followed Trump’s tweets, the
The White House canceled a planned briefing, and press secretary Sarah Sanders released a statement.
“The president has spoken with Gov. [Rick] Scott of Florida and offered federal assistance if needed,” Sanders said. “Department of Homeland Security Secretary [Kirstjen] Nielsen also spoke with Gov. Scott, as well as state and local officials. She has briefed the president on those conversations. The governor, the secretary and other administration officials will continue to keep the president updated.”
The grim numbers from Parkland meant that it ranked as one of the deadliest school shootings on American soil, behind only the massacres at Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook Elementary. For some, the extent of the death toll — and Trump’s four-sentence public response — made for an easy comparison with the president’s predecessor.
On the day of the Sandy Hook murders, Obama delivered powerful remarks in front of the White House press corps that many Democrats hoped would lead to stronger gun control laws.
Trump has resisted strengthening firearm laws in the wake of mass shootings, echoing an argument that the time for discussing legislative solutions to gun violence is not in the immediate moments following such tragedies.
On the Senate floor, Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who represents constituents that include the parents of the children killed at Sandy Hook, laid out the
“As a parent, it scares me to death that this body doesn’t take seriously the safety of my children, and it seems like a lot of parents in South Florida are going to be asking that same question later today,” he said. “We pray for the families, for the victims. We hope for the best.”
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