How Trump has responded to moments of national grief

February 15, 2018
President Donald Trump walks from the Diplomatic Room of the White House, in Washington, Thursday, Feb 15, 2018, after speaking about the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Fla. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has responded in uneven ways to mass shootings and other incidents in which multiple people were killed.

Trump expressed sorrow Thursday after 17 people were killed a day earlier in a shooting at a South Florida high school, and aimed to put the spotlight on the alleged gunman’s mental health.

He called for the death penalty for an Uzbek immigrant charged in a truck attack in New York City last year that killed eight people. After a married couple allegedly shot and killed 14 people at a holiday party in California in December 2015, then-presidential candidate Trump called for the “complete and total shutdown” of Muslims entering the U.S.

A look at Trump’s reactions:

— February 2018, Parkland, Florida, high school shooting: Trump promised the nation he would “tackle the difficult issue of mental health.” He did not mention gun control. In a morning tweet, Trump said there were many signs that the 19-year-old alleged shooter was “mentally disturbed.”

— November 2017, Sutherland Springs, Texas, church shooting; 26 killed, including the unborn baby of one of the slain women: Trump said “this isn’t a guns situation.”

— October 2017, Las Vegas shooting kills 58 people: Trump called the shooter “demented” and a “very sick individual.” He said “we’ll be talking about gun laws as time goes by” but those conversations haven’t happened. The administration had shown a willingness to outlaw the device the shooter used to fire at near-automatic rates, but the White House has proposed no curbs.

— October 2017, New York City truck attack kills eight: Within hours of the attack, Trump called on Congress to immediately repeal a diversity lottery program that allowed the suspect, Uzbekistan citizen Sayfullo Saipov, to enter the U.S. in 2010. Trump also called for the death penalty for Saipov.

— June 2017, Alexandria, Virginia, shooting gravely wounds House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and other House Republicans at baseball practice: Trump addressed the nation from the Diplomatic Reception Room — the same setting as Thursday’s address — and told Scalise that America was praying for him and all of the shooting victims. Trump also visited Scalise in the hospital.

— June 2016, Orlando, Florida, shooting kills 49 people: Trump sent multiple tweets: “Really bad shooting in Orlando. Police investigating possible terrorism. Many people dead and wounded” and “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!” Trump also tweeted: “What has happened in Orlando is just the beginning. Our leadership is weak and ineffective. I called it and asked for the ban. Must be tough.”

— December 2015, San Bernardino, California, shooting leaves 14 dead after a husband-and-wife duo open fire on a holiday party: Trump called for the “complete and total shutdown” of Muslims entering the U.S. Trump also tweeted: “The horrible shooting that took place in San Bernardino was an absolute act of terror that many people knew about. Why didn’t they report?”

— October 2015, Roseburg, Oregon, school shooting kills nine: Trump tweets: “My warmest condolences to the families of the horrible Roseburg, Oregon, shootings.”

— September 2013, Washington Navy Yard shooting in the District of Columbia kills 12: Trump tweets: “The Navy Yard shooting is a horrible disaster. If we don’t clean up OUR COUNTRY of the garbage soon, we are just going to do a death spiral!” and “American Exceptionalism and the Navy Yard shooting do not go hand in hand. Foreign countries, in particular Russia, are mocking the U.S.”

— December 2012, Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school shooting kills 26, including 20 first-graders: The following day, Trump tweets: “A horrible day for Newtown, CT and our country yesterday. My condolences to all of the families so tragically affected.” Trump also tweeted after President Barack Obama spoke at a memorial service: “President Obama spoke for me and every American in his remarks in #Newtown Connecticut.”

All contents © copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.