WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump said on Monday that he and other politicians would have performed better than police who apparently failed to confront the gunman who killed 17 people inside a Florida school.
In a White House meeting with dozens of governors from across the country, he blasted the “disgusting” performance of a police officer assigned to the school who failed to enter the building where most of the massacre was carried out and other sheriff’s deputies who were slow to act after their arrival on the scene.
“You don’t know until you’re tested, but I think – I really believe – I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon,” Trump said. “And I think most of the people in this room would have done that, too, because I know most of you.”
He said that the police now being criticized “weren’t exactly medal of honour winners” and that their performance was “frankly, disgusting.”
Trump vowed to take presidential action himself to ban bump stocks, a device used in last year’s Las Vegas massacre, to speed the rate of fire from a semi-automatic rifle.
“I don’t care if Congress does it or not,” he said, though it was unclear if a president can ban such devices without action by lawmakers.
Trump reiterated his proposal last week for “steps to harden [US] schools so that they’re less vulnerable to attack – this includes allowing well trained and certified personnel to carry concealed firearms.”
Challenged by Washington state Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat, on the proposal to arm teachers, Trump said he only meant a “small portion” of teachers who “are very gun adept.”
Inslee told Trump that “educators should educate” and leave deadly force to trained police.
“I have listened to the first-grade teachers that don’t want to be pistol-packing first-grade teachers,” Inslee said.
“We suggest things, and sometimes then we listen to people about it, and maybe they don’t look so good a little later. So I just suggest we need a little less tweeting here, and a little more listening, and let’s just take that off the table.”
The February 14 shooting spree in Parkland, Florida, has mobilized a youth movement that is confronting the influential US gun rights lobby, with which the right-wing Trump is closely aligned. -DPA