President Donald Trump said Monday that he would have charged into a Florida school during the shooting there earlier this month even if he were unarmed.
“I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon,” Trump told governors meeting at the White House to discuss school safety.
Trump slammed as “frankly, disgusting” the armed school guard who remained outside the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that left 17 students and teachers dead. The president also criticized several other deputies who failed to immediately enter the school, telling the governors that the law enforcement officers “weren’t exactly Medal of Honor winners.”
“The way they performed was really a disgrace,” he said.
Trump compared the skill involved in shooting guns to that required for the game of golf, where “some people can make a four-foot putt every time, and some people can’t even take the club back.”
And he said the only way to stop school shootings was “retribution,” adding, “You’re not going to stop it by being kind.”
The armed sheriff’s deputy, Scot Peterson, who was on site during the mass shooting, resigned last week after being suspended without pay. He took cover outside rather than entering the school building to try to stop the shooter.
Trump said Monday that the deputy “choked.”
Trump added that he had lunch with NRA leaders Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox over the weekend and claimed they “want to do something.”
He told the governors that it was okay to “fight them every once in a while.”
“Don’t worry about the NRA, they’re on our side,” Trump said. “Half of you are so afraid of the NRA, there’s nothing to be afraid of.”
“And you know what, if they’re not with you, we have to fight them every once in a while. That’s okay,” he added. “They’re doing what they think is right…But sometimes we’re gonna have to be very tough and we’re gonna have to fight them.”
In the weeks since the horrific school shooting, Trump has proposed combating such incidents by training and arming some teachers with guns. Last week, he suggested that firearm-adept school staff be given “a little bit of a bonus” for carrying weapons, and promised federal funds to train them.
The White House has said Trump supports bipartisan legislation from Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., that would make the current national background check system function more effectively, though it wouldn’t expand the system’s reach.
On Monday, the president reiterated that he wanted to ban bump stocks.
“By the way, bump stocks, we’re writing that out. I’m writing that out myself, I don’t care if Congress does it or not, I’m writing it out myself, okay? You put it into the machine gun category, which is what it is, it becomes essentially a machine gun.”
Trump has directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to propose regulations that would ban the use of bump stocks and similar devices “that turn legal weapons into machine guns.”
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