Trump meets Fla. shooting victims, first responders


Associated Press

POMPANO BEACH, Fla.

President Donald Trump came face-to-face Friday with hospitalized victims of the horrific school shooting in Florida and offered thanks to the doctors and nurses who helped the wounded, declaring “the job they’ve done is incredible.”

Asked if he’d talked with victims, Trump added: “I did indeed, and it’s very sad something like that could happen.”

After paying their respects to medical professionals at Broward Health North Hospital, Trump and his wife, Melania, visited with law-enforcement officials in Fort Lauderdale, where he told officers that he hoped they were “getting the credit” they deserved for their response to the shooting that left 17 dead and 14 injured.

“I was at the hospital with a lot of parents and they are really thankful for the job you’ve done,” Trump said at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, where he was joined by Gov. Rick Scott, Sen. Marco Rubio and other Florida officials. He added that the young victims were in “really great shape” considering what they have been through.

Trump relished bantering and praising the law-enforcement officials, he marveled at the speed with which first responders rushed the wounded to the hospital, and he extended hearty thanks to first responders. But the president, who has never been a natural at consolation, didn’t publicly address the grief and sorrow gripping a shocked community and nation, beyond his mention of how sad it was to meet with victims.

Nor was there any mention of the debate over gun regulation set off by the shooting. The president ignored a shouted question about whether guns should be more tightly regulated.

Trump said he originally planned to visit the Parkland area Sunday or Monday, but decided he didn’t want to wait.

But as Trump arrived in Florida, some of the parents, survivors and others affected by the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School said they were more interested in firm action to prevent future assaults than a presidential visit.

“I don’t want Trump to come, but we want more gun safety,” said 18-year-old Kevin Trejos, a senior at the school. “It’s a dream. It hasn’t hit me yet. When I see empty desks, I’ll feel it. I’m numb now.”

Trump’s approach stood in sharp contrast to his predecessor’s reaction to the shooting in Newtown, Conn., five years ago. After the Sandy Hook slayings, President Barack Obama quickly attended an emotional evening vigil in Newtown, where he read aloud the names of each victim and promised to use “whatever power” he had to prevent future shootings. In the wake of a mass shooting at a South Carolina church, Obama led thousands in singing “Amazing Grace.”

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