President Donald Trump addressed the nation from the White House following a deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead.
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“Today I speak to a nation in grief. Yesterday a school filled with innocent children and caring teachers became the scene of terrible violence, hatred and evil,” Trump said .
“Our entire nation with one heavy heart is praying for the victims and their families. To every parent, teacher and child who is hurting so badly, we are here for you, whatever you need, whatever we can do to ease your pain. We are all joined together as one American family. And your suffering is our burden also,” he said.
He also sought to console the parents of the young people who died in the attack.
“No parent should ever have to fear for their sons and daughters when they kiss them goodbye in the morning,” said Trump. “Each person who was stolen from us yesterday had a full life ahead of them. A life filled with wondrous beauty and unlimited potential and promise. Each one had dreams to pursue, love to give and talents to share with the world.”
In a proclamation, Trump ordered all flags to fly at half-staff “as a mark of solemn respect for the victims of the terrible act.”
Trump said that soon after the shooting, he spoke with Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Pam Bondi, the Attorney General of Florida, and Broward County Florida Sheriff Scott Israel.
Trump directly addressed America’s children during his remarks.
“I want you to know that you are never alone and you never will be. 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. Answer hate with love. Answer cruelty with kindness. 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.”
Trump said that he plans to work with his administration to work on securing schools and tackling the issue of mental health.
Trump tweeted his condolences on Wednesday as the shooting unfolded.
“My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school,” tweeted Trump.
On Thursday, pointed to the shooter’s history of mental illness.
“So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!” Tweeted Trump.
Trump has addressed the nation three times in the wake of mass shootings — first, after the Congressional baseball shooting in Alexandria, Virginia that left Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana in critical condition, then, in October, after the worst mass shooting in American history in Las Vegas, Nevada, and in November, after the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas.