President Donald Trump said Monday he would have acted more bravely than the school resource officer during the shooting in Parkland, Florida, blaming the campus cop for 17 deaths. At a White House gathering of U.S. Governors to address the Feb. 14 shooting, Trump also continued to advocate arming teachers.
The president has mocked Broward County Sheriff's Deputy Scot Peterson, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School resource officer who reportedly failed to enter the school during the shooting. On Monday, he did so once again, adding that he himself would have charged into the line of fire 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.
The statement was just one part of his speech, where he lambasted the Broward County Sheriff's office for their response. Yet he stuck to his proposal of getting more school staff trained to carry firearms, even as he slammed as many as four officers, who were allegedly derelict in their duty.
The president's speculation that he would have acted decisively and perhaps self-sacrificially in a shooting took off on Twitter. The Associated Press's White House correspondent, Zeke Miller, tweeted the quote, which quickly became Monday's central topic of conversation online.
Trump rips Fla. Deputies for not going into school. "I really believe I'd run in there even if I didn't have a weapon."— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) February 26, 2018
"He would have worn a dress to get off the Titanic ffs," wrote one user in response.
He would have worn a dress to get off the Titanic ffs.— Lisa (@GibbsGirlAbby) February 26, 2018
"President Bone Spurs is so courageous," mused another.
President Bone Spurs is so courageous.— Stacy (@LaikaSpaceDog) February 26, 2018
Many respondents pointed out that President Trump avoided the draft during the Vietnam War, doubting whether he'd charge into a storm of gunfire. Others pointed out foreign engagements he's skipped or cancelled.
Trump dodged the draft, which would have given him a weapon.— Josh Caplan (@TheJoshCaplan) February 26, 2018
HE DOESN'T EVEN PROTECT HIS OWN CHILD FROM RAIN. pic.twitter.com/UdxlrXRxEU— Ragnar Shadowbeard (@steambreatherr) February 26, 2018
President Trump wasn't the only one with harsh words for the Broward County Sheriff's deputies. Officers from the neighboring Coral Springs Police Department told reporters that when they responded to the Valentine's Day shooting, they saw as many as four deputies — including Peterson — standing behind cars outside of the school, refusing to go in.
The Broward County Sheriff's Office released a statement on Sunday, saying that it's looking into this and other claims as part of its investigation into the attack as well as the internal investigations in the follow-up. However, Sheriff Scott Israel seemed to imply that he didn't believe the reports in an appearance on CNN.
"At this point, we have no reason to believe that any one acted incorrectly or correctly," he said. "That's what an investigation is."