(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump visited medical staff and patients at a Florida hospital on Friday to thank them for assisting victims of the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
Trump, joined by First Lady Melania Trump, also stopped at the Broward County sheriff’s office to meet with law enforcement officers, including a detective and his son, Will Olson, who was shot in the massacre on Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, according to a White House statement. Seventeen people were killed and at least 14 others were injured.
“The job they’ve done is incredible,” Trump said at Broward Health North hospital, referring to the medical staff. The president and the first lady also “spent time with two patients -- one boy and one girl,” the White House said.
He later tweeted pictures from the hospital visit, with the comment: “Our entire Nation, w/one heavy heart, continues to pray for the victims & their families in Parkland, FL. To teachers, law enforcement, first responders & medical professionals who responded so bravely in the face of danger: We THANK YOU for your courage!”
Florida’s governor, Rick Scott, the state’s attorney general, Pam Bondi, and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida were among those on hand at the sheriff’s office, according to the White House.
Trump made the stops on the way to a pre-planned Presidents Day weekend trip to his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago.
The visit reprised the itinerary the president followed in Las Vegas last October after a mass shooting at a concert. Trump also went to a hospital to thank doctors and visit some of the wounded, followed by a visit with law enforcement officers for a briefing. In Las Vegas, he didn’t stop at the shooting scene and the White House didn’t disclose any visit with families of the dead.
Before leaving Washington on Friday, Trump said on Twitter he planned to meet with “some of the bravest people on earth -- but people whose lives have been totally shattered.” Trump added that he was working with Congress “on many fronts” but did not specify what those fronts were.
So far, there’s been no indication that the White House is discussing legislation on guns; he said Thursday that he hoped to see Congress “tackle the difficult issue of mental health.” White House spokesman Raj Shah said Friday on Fox News that Trump is prioritizing a push for improved security at schools but said much of the work will have to be done at the local level. Shah dismissed “the notion that we can somehow ban weapons.”
Authorities said the 19-year-old gunman, Nikolas Cruz, used a semiautomatic AR-15-style rifle that he bought legally. Similar guns have been used in many mass shootings, including in Las Vegas last year and Orlando in 2016.
The Parkland massacre was the deadliest school shooting since 20 children and six adults were killed in the December 2012 rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
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