US President Donald Trump on Friday visited a Florida hospital to offer comfort to those wounded in a mass school shooting, after the FBI admitted it mishandled a tip about the troubled teen behind the massacre that left 17 dead.
The arrival of Trump and his wife Melania came at the end of a difficult day for the families of those killed in Wednesday’s rampage at a high school in Parkland, Florida, who learned that the carnage could perhaps have been averted.
The FBI, the top US law enforcement agency, admitted it had received a chilling warning in January from a tipster who said the 19-year-old gunman, Nikolas Cruz, could be planning a mass shooting, but that agents had failed to follow up.
At Broward Health North Hospital, where Trump met with survivors of the shooting, the president thanked the doctors, nurses and first responders for their “incredible” work, and described the carnage as “very sad.”
He and his wife then headed to the Broward County sheriff’s office, where they met with Florida Governor Rick Scott, Senator Marco Rubio, Sheriff Scott Israel and other law enforcement officers.
Trump told the group he had met with a female survivor who had been shot four times, including in the lung, adding that quick first responders had saved her life.
“Give them a raise,” he said.
The president’s visit to the Parkland area north of Miami came amid growing anger among parents and students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School over America’s seeming unwillingness to toughen gun control laws.
“My princess wasn’t safe in that school,” said Andrew Pollack, speaking at the funeral of his 18-year-old daughter Meadow.
“Please pray that this horrific tragedy never happens to another family.”
At the evening briefing at the sheriff’s department, Rubio said: “This is a community and a state that is in deep pain and they want action to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Trump replied: “You can count on it.” (AFP)