President Donald Trump hosted a gathering of U.S. Governors at the White House on Monday, where he addressed the shooting in Parkland, Florida, laying heavy blame on the sheriff's deputies who allegedly failed to act.
The president called for action in securing schools, specifically arming teachers and other staff members with guns to combat potential school shooters. Many have criticized this plan as inefficient, especially since the Broward County Sheriff's Office confirmed that deputy Scot Peterson froze up and spent four minutes standing outside during the shooting.
President Trump expressed his disgust at this news, and told the assembled governors that he would have acted differently in Peterson's shoes.
"You don't know until you test it, but I think, I really believe I'd run in there, even if I didn't have a weapon, and I think most of the people in this room would have done that too," the president said.
President Trump spoke about the unconfirmed reports that as many as three other deputies from the Broward County Sheriff's Office stood outside of the school during and after the shooting, failing to enter and assist the students who were hurt. The accounts come from officers from the neighboring Coral Springs Police Department. Broward County officials are conducting a full investigation into the claims.
"We have to take steps to harden out schools so that they're less vulnerable to attack," President Trump said. "This includes allowing well-trained and certified school personnel to carry concealed firearms. At some point, you need volume. I don't know that a school is going to be able to hire a hundred security guards that are armed."
"Plus, you know, I got to watch some deputy sheriffs performing this weekend, and they weren't exactly Medal of Honor winners," the president said, referring to the rumors. "Alright? The way they performed was, frankly, disgusting."
The president also noted that, prior to the shooting, confessed gunman Nikolas Cruz had 39 "red flags," presumably referring to his past encounters with law enforcement. However, over the weekend, the Broward County Sheriff's Office disputed that count, writing in a public statement that they only had 23 run-ins with Cruz on record.
On Sunday, Sheriff Scott Israel joined CNN's Jake Tapper on State of the Union for a prolonged interview, where he was asked about various aspects of his department's response to the shooting. Israel refused to answer many questions, pointing out that the investigation into the attack as well as the internal investigations stemming from it are all ongoing.
"I'm not on a time line for TV or any news show," the sheriff said. "We need to get it right. We need to get it accurate. We're talking about people's lives. We're talking about a community. We need to corroborate, we need to verify."0comments
However, he seemed to generally deny accusations that his deputies were guilty of dereliction of duty.
"At this point, we have no reason to believe that any one acted incorrectly or correctly," he said. "That's what an investigation is."