Donald Trump Addresses Florida School Shooting: ‘Answer Hate with Love, Answer Cruelty with Kindness’

President Donald Trump delivers a statement on the mass shooting at a South Florida High School from the White House, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Donald Trump addressed the country Thursday morning in the aftermath of the school shooting in Florida, calling for a working plan to keep America’s schools safe.

“It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference, we must actually make that difference,” Trump said.

He specifically called attention to mental health and promised to meet with federal and state officials to discuss the problem — but did not address gun control laws.

The president made his remarks at the White House after the shooting suspect in Parkland, Florida murdered 17 students before he was arrested and charged by law enforcement officials. He described the shooting as one of “terrible violence, hatred, and evil.”

Trump spoke directly to American schoolchildren, urging them to reach out to authority figures in their lives for help and to treat each other with dignity.

“Answer hate with love; answer cruelty with kindness,” he said. “We must also work together to create a culture in our country that embraces the dignity of life, that creates deep and meaningful human connections, and that turns classmates and colleagues into friends and neighbors.”

The president cited 2 Kings 20:5 to comfort those in grief: “‘I have heard your prayer and seen your tears, I will heal you,’” he read.

Trump thanked Americans who responded to the shooting, including the teachers who helped save lives of children in the school.

“To law enforcement, first responders and teachers who responded so bravely in the face of danger, we thank you for your courage,” he said.

He also confirmed that he planned to visit the Florida community in Parkland in the coming days.

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