In his presidential response to the most recent US school shooting in Florida, US President Donald Trump cited “the issue of mental health” and school safety as two issues he would promise to tackle. With his speech absent of any mention of gun control or the issue of gun violence in America, many have said that his response was tailored to avoid upsetting gun advocates in his support base.
While not typically talented as a national comforter, Trump spoke carefully. He directly addressed students of the school who he said may be feeling “confused or even scared”.
Trump told the students that he wanted them to know that they are “never alone” and that they “never will be”. He went on to tell them that they “have people who care about you” and “will do anything” to protect them.
Despite Trump’s promise to address the issue of mental health in America, his latest budgetary plans would reduce funding to Medicaid by more than one third. Medicaid is the primary source of governmental funding that governs the treatment of mental health issues in the United States.
In 2017 Trump gave his signature to a resolution that worked to block a ruling from the Obama presidency that was made to prevent certain mentally ill people for acquiring firearms.
Trump’s White House speech came a day after the school shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. The shooter, an expelled student of the school, opened fire with an assault rifle and killed 17 people, injuring another 14.
It was the United States’ most deadly school shooting in 5 years. Like all other US school shootings this incident has given rise to a fierce debate about gun control in the nation.
The shooting comes under a month since a school shooting in Kentucky in late January.
Trump said that he plans to visit the grieving Florida community although no date had been officially set.
Trump’s omitting of the gun law debate from his speech was met with disappointment by many who seek tougher gun restrictions. Gun control advocates believe it is too easy for Americans to get access to automatic weapons which can kill large amounts of people in a short amount of time.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the president’s speech was meant to “talk about grief” as well as showing “compassion in unifying the country”.
Before running to be US president, Trump was quoted as having been in favour of stronger gun laws. When he ran for president he dismissed these views and received 30 million USD in backing from the NRA (National Rifle Association) to support his campaign.