On Monday, President Trump delivered a scathing rebuke of the four sheriff’s deputies who stood outside a Parkland, Fla. high school during this month’s mass shooting.
Speaking to a meeting of governors at the White House, the president excoriated the officers as “disgusting” and a “disgrace,” and added that in that situation “I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon.”
“The way they performed was, frankly, disgusting. They were listening to what was going on. The one in particular, he was there early,” President Trump said, referring to Deputy Scot Peterson, as well as three other deputies who reportedly waited outside Marjory Stoneman High School for minutes during the rampage.
The president continued:
“You know, I really believe, you don’t know until you’re tested, but I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon.”
He punctuated his remark by saying that “most” of the people present at the governors’ meeting would do the same.
“And I think most of the people in this room would have done that, too, ’cause I know most of you.
“But the way they performed was really a disgrace.”
The president also spoke about the National Rifle Association, which has faced heavy public scrutiny and lost business relationships since the shooting, which left 14 students and three faculty members dead.
“Don’t worry about the NRA,” Reuters reported President Trump as saying. “They’re on our side. Half of you are so afraid of the NRA. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
The president said he had lunch with NRA leaders last week and told the governors in attendance that it’s “OK” to “fight” the Second Amendment advocacy group once in a while.
“And you know what, if they’re not with you, we have to fight them every once in a while. That’s OK. They’re doing what they think is right.”
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, a Democrat first elected to the position in 2012, has been criticized for his deputies’ response. Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Sunday ordered a probe into the Sheriff’s Office’s handling of the crisis.
Israel told NBC 6 the deputies’ failure to enter the school was “not his responsibility.” The sheriff has resisted calls to step down.