President Donald Trump used his speech Friday to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference to re-emphasize his view that specially trained teachers, and other school staff should be armed to protect children from deranged mass-shooters.
'When we declare our schools to be gun-free zones it just puts our students in more danger,' he said. 'Well-trained gun-adept teachers and coaches should be able to carry concealed firearms. We should do what works.'
As he left the White House for the event, the president told reporters that the National Rifle Association 'wants to do the right thing.'
'It's a very big subject. It's a subject that everybody is talking about – for all the wrong reasons,' he said.
Trump also pledged: 'We're going to do something about it. We're going to make changes.'
President Trump will use his speech Friday to the annual CPAC to re-emphasize his view that specially trained teachers, and other school staff should be armed to protect children from deranged mass-shooters. Pictured: Trump leaving the White House on Friday morning
Trump, a happy warrior following a harrowing week of fallout from a deadly school shooting, took the stage to shouts of 'USA! USA!' – and quickly shifted into self-deprecating mode.
'What a nice picture that is!' he joked, pointing to a giant video screen offstage. 'I'd love to hear that guy speak.'
Looking at his own image onscreen, Trump tried to smooth his signature hairdo to conceal his comb-over.
'I try like hell to hide that bald spot, folks. I work hard at it,' he said to laughs and cheers. 'It doesn't look bad. We're hanging in, right?'
But Trump's deadly serious moments included a line urging Americans to back 'common sense measures that will protect the rights of law-abiding Americans while helping to keep guns out of the hands of those who pose a danger to themselves and to others.'
Trump needs to thread this needle if he hopes to drag Republicans a few inches toward a new gun control regime while also persuading Democrats to cede the credit for accomplishing it.
That, the White House has signaled, will be accomplished through a series of emotionally charged events like the one on Wednesday that saw grieving students and bereaved parents sit down with the president for a listening session.
'On Wednesday, I had the honor of meeting with students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, with families who have lost their children in prior shootings, and with members of the local community in Washington, D.C.,' Trump said.
'Our whole nation was moved by their strength and courage.'
At the White House, however, he used the word 'coward' to describe an armed deputy at the school who stayed out of harm's way instead of confronting the shooter who ultimately claimed 17 lives.
Trump also renewed his