President Donald Trump doubled down on his criticism of the armed school guard and the sheriff’s deputies who remained outside the Parkland high school during the Valentine’s Day massacre, saying that he would have rushed into the school unarmed.
“I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon,” Trump said, according to NBC.
“I really believe I would have,” the president said. “You never know until you’re tested.”
Trump made the comments during a meeting with state governors, which encompassed a variety of topics, including the government’s response to the deadly shooting at Stoneman Douglas Highschool in Florida where 17 people were killed.
The president described the guard who failed to stop the shooter as “disgusting” and slammed the deputies who took cover outside the school as the shooting progressed, saying they “weren’t exactly Medal of Honor winners.”
Trump was also critical of the law enforcement’s work prior to the shooting, pointing out that 39 red flags were missed. Buzzfeed reported on Sunday, Feb. 25, that there were even more police responses to the alleged shooter’s home than previously reported, citing public records which show the police responded to Nikolas Cruz’s home 45 times.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the local school officials have a standing policy to ignore criminal engagement with high-school students. As a result, many of the alarming reports about the alleged shooter in the years preceding the massacre appear to have been passed over as a matter of policy, rather than erroneously missed.
In the wake of the shooting, Trump proposed expanding background checks for gun purchases with a focus on mental illness, banning bump stocks, raising the minimum age to buy a gun to 21 and offering a bonus for properly trained teachers to carry guns in schools.
“Our nation is heartbroken,” the president said. “We’ll turn our grief into action.”
Trump said he would supersede Congress if it doesn’t act on banning bump stocks.
“I don’t care if Congress doesn’t act,” Trump said. “We’re getting rid of it.”
A bump stock is a rifle accessory that uses the gun’s recoil force to produce rapid fire. The Florida school shooter did not use a bump stock, according to police. Bump stocks received a national spotlight after they were discovered in the hotel room of the man suspected of carrying out the Las Vegas shooting massacre.
Trump placed part of the blame regarding the lack of adequate mental health care on some of the governors present, adding that “we’re going to have to start talking about mental institutions.”
“In the old days” it was easier to commit people who acted “like a boiler ready to explode” to mental institutions, Trump said.