By JONATHAN LEMIRE, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump planned to meet Thursday with families of the victims of the Texas school shooting that left 10 people dead.
The White House says Trump will hold the meetings after he arrives in Houston to attend several political events in the state. The May 18 shooting at Santa Fe High School killed eight students and two substitute teachers. Authorities have charged a 17-year-old student with capital murder in the attack.
Trump was “moved” by the events in Santa Fe, said White House spokesman Raj Shah.
“These events are very tragic, whenever they happen. And you know, the president wants to extend his condolences and talk about the issue of school safety,” Shah told Fox News Channel.
“He’s the president of the United States, but he’s also a father. He’s also a husband, and he obviously understands what it’s like, you know, to love someone and then lose someone,” Shah said, adding that Trump approaches situations like these as a human being and a parent, not necessarily as a politician.
“I think he just, you know, he talks to families, he listens and he wants to learn,” Shah said.
After 17 teachers and students were killed during a February shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida, Trump said he would work to improve school safety but has not called for new gun control legislation. He created a commission to review ways to make schools safer and named Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to chair it. The panel on Thursday was making its first field trip to a Baltimore-area elementary school.
Trump briefly strayed from gun rights dogma after the Parkland shooting, but quickly backpedaled. His trip to Texas, which embraces its gun-friendly reputation, comes weeks after Trump visited the state to address the annual convention of the National Rifle Association.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican and a staunch gun-rights supporter, has called for schools to have more armed personnel and said they should put greater focus on spotting student mental health problems. He’s proposed a few small restrictions on guns since the shooting.
Students at Santa Fe High School returned to class Tuesday for the first time since the shooting.
Authorities have charged student Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, with capital murder in the attack. Investigators said he used a shotgun and pistol that belonged to his father.