How Trump has responded to moments of national grief
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.”