Trump says he would have rushed into school
UNITED STATES: Donald Trump says he would have rushed inside the Florida high school where 17 people were shot dead, even if he was not armed.
The US president made the comment as he said that an armed police school resource officer, who remained outside the building during the massacre on February 14, had ‘‘choked’’.
Speaking to a group of 39 state governors at the White House, Trump said: ‘‘I really believe, you don’t know until you’re tested, but I really believe I’d run in, even if I didn’t have a weapon.’’
He added: ‘‘I think most of the people in this room would have done that, too.’’
Following reports that other police officers had also failed to go in, Trump said it was ‘‘frankly disgusting’’ and added: ‘‘They weren’t exactly Medal of Honour winners.’’
However, in his first public statement about the shootings, Scot Peterson, the school resource officer, said it was ‘‘patently untrue’’ that he acted with cowardice, and suggested there had been a ‘‘gross oversimplification’’ of what happened.
He said an initial report mistakenly said firecrackers were being set off near the building.
Peterson said he then heard gunshots ‘‘but believed that those gunshots were originating from outside of the buildings’’.
Following his training to seek cover and assess the situation in the event of outdoor gunfire, he ‘‘took up a tactical position’’ between two nearby buildings while alerting headquarters and initiating a ‘‘Code Red’’ lockdown of the school, according to the statement.
Joseph DiRuzzo, Peterson’s lawyer, said: ‘‘Let there be no mistake, Peterson wishes that he could have prevented the untimely passing of the 17 victims on that day, and his heart goes out to the families of the victims in their time of need.’’
Meanwhile, Trump also suggested that there was daylight between himself and the National Rifle Association, America’s biggest gun lobby, in how to respond to the shooting.
The NRA, which has five million members, endorsed Trump in the 2016 election and backed him with tens of millions of dollars.
The president said he had lunch with the NRA leadership, including chief executive Wayne LaPierre, over the weekend, and they were ‘‘great patriots’’. But he added: ‘‘Sometimes we’re going to have to be very tough and we’re going to have to fight them.’’
Trump told the governors: ‘‘Don’t worry about the NRA. They’re on our side. Half of you are so afraid of the NRA. You don’t need to be afraid of them. They want to do something.’’
He reiterated his belief that some teachers should be armed.
– Telegraph Group