• Politics
  • White House

‘No Child Should Be in Danger.’ Read President Trump’s Reaction to Deadly Florida School Shooting

6 minute read
Updated: | Originally published: ;

President Trump offered comforting words but no policy prescriptions when he addressed a grieving nation the day after a deadly school shooting in Florida.

“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,” Trump said Thursday morning. “We are all joined together as one American family, and your suffering is our burden also.”

“No child,” he added, “no teacher, should ever be in danger in an American school.”

17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday when a former student opened fire on campus. It was the deadliest school shooting since the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which killed 20 children and six adults.

Trump’s statement came a few hours after he tweeted that the gunman—identified by the Broward County Sheriff’s office as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz — was “mentally disturbed,” and those who knew him should have reported him to the authorities.

During his speech, Trump said the country needs to “tackle the difficult issue of mental health.” But he notably did not mention guns or gun control in the entirety of the roughly 6.5-minute statement. In the wake of past mass shootings, Trump has criticized talking about politics or gun policy as a reaction to the tragedy.

He said Thursday that he will plan a trip to Parkland, Florida and called for decisive steps to be taken after the shooting, but he did not elaborate on what the solutions might be.

“It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference,” Trump said. “We must actually make that difference.”

Read a transcript of Trump’s remarks below.

My fellow Americans, today I speak to a nation in grief. Yesterday, as school filled with innocent children and caring teachers became the scene of terrible violence, hatred and evil. Around 2:30 p.m. yesterday afternoon, police responded to reports of gunfire at Marjory Stonemason Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a great and safe community. There, a shooter who is now in custody opened fire on defenseless students and teachers. He murdered 17 people and badly wounded at least 14 others. 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. No child, no teacher should ever be in danger in an American school. No parent should ever have to fear for their sons and daughters when they kiss them goodbye in the morning. 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, and each one had a family to whom they meant everything in the world. Today we mourn for all of those who lost their lives. We comfort the grieving and the wounded, and we hurt for the entire community of Parkland, Florida, that is now in shock and pain and searching for answers. To law enforcement, first responders and teachers who responded so bravely in the face of danger, we thank you for your courage. Soon after the shooter, I spoke with Governor Scott to convey our deepest sympathies to the people of Florida and our determination to assist in any way that we can. I also spoke with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. I’m making plans to visit Parkland to meet with families and local officials and to continue coordinating the federal repose. In these moments of heartache and darkness, we hold on to God’s word in Scripture, I have heard your prayer and seen your tears, I will heal you. We trust in that promise and we hold fast to our fellow Americans in their time of sorrow. I want to speak now directly to America’s children, especially those who feel lost, alone, confused or even scared. 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. Our administration is working closely with local authorities to investigate the shooting and learn everything we can. We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health. Later this month, I’ll be meeting with the nation’s governors and attorney generals where making our schools and our children safer will be our top priority. It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference. We must actually make that difference. In times of tragedy, the bonds that sustain us are those of family, faith, community and country. These bonds are stronger than the forces of hatred and evil. And these bonds grow even stronger in the hours of our greatest need, and so always, but especially today, let us hold our loved ones close. Let us pray for healing and for peace and let us come together as one nation to wipe away the tears and strive for a much better tomorrow. Thank you and God bless you all. Thank you very much.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Write to Tessa Berenson at tessa.Rogers@time.com