He spoke for around 90 seconds ahead of planned remarks on prison reform during a summit at the White House.
“This has been going on too long in our country. Too many years, too many decades now,” the president said of school shootings. He called the Texas incident “absolutely horrific.”
The attack at Santa Fe High School left at least eight dead, according to local news outlets citing law enforcement. Santa Fe, Texas, is around 35 miles southeast of Houston.
“To the students, families, teachers and personnel at Santa Fe High, we’re with you in this tragic hour and we’ll be with you forever,” Trump said. “My administration is determined to do everything in our power to protect our students, secure our schools, and to keep weapons out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves and to others.”
“Everyone must work together at every level of government to keep our children safe,” the president continued. “May God heal the injured and may God comfort the wounded, and may God be with the victims and with the victims’ families.”
“Very sad day,” the president added. “Very, very sad.”
“On another note, a very positive note, I’m honored to be here today with so many leaders across the nation who are committed to the crucial issue of prison reform,” Trump said in an awkward pivot to his planned remarks.
A shooter has been arrested and another person of interest has been detained, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez announced. A fire alarm prompted students to flee the school, and the situation had been “contained” by late Friday morning, officials said.
The total number of injured is not yet known. The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is accepting patients from the school.
Trump reportedly spoke with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and pledged to “provide all appropriate federal assistance.”
The incident in Santa Fe marks the 22nd U.S. school shooting of 2018, by CNN’s count.
Trump ― who spoke at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention earlier this month alongside Vice President Mike Pence ― has been sharply criticized for seemingly siding with the gun lobby against those pushing for gun policy reform in the wake of the February massacre in Parkland, Florida. No major gun reform legislation has been passed during Trump’s administration.
In the weeks after the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which left 17 dead, the president proposed a plan that would arm some school personnel in an effort to make educational facilities safer. Many in education and law enforcement argued that the president’s plan would have the opposite effect.