Seeking to comfort grieving families and shaken survivors, President Donald Trump spent more than an hour privately Thursday with some of those impacted by a Texas mass school shooting that killed 10 and wounded more than a dozen on May 18.
The latest spasm of violence in a year marred by assaults on the nation's schools, the shooting at Santa Fe High School was the latest to test the president's role as national comforter-in-chief.
Trump met with more than two dozen people affected by the shooting, and did not publicly share his message for the grieving families and local leaders during a meeting at a Coast Guard base outside Houston.
Pamela Stanich - whose 17-year-old son, Jared Black, was among the eight students killed - was one of the parents who met with Trump, presenting him with a family statement and a copy of her son's eulogy.
President Donald Trump spent more than an hour privately Thursday with some of those impacted by the Sante Fe mass school shooting on May 18. He was joined by Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Greg Abbott
Trump 'met with us privately and showed sincerity, compassion, and concern on making our schools safer across the nation,' she wrote in a Facebook post after the meeting. 'He spent time talking to the survivors and asking on what happened and what would have made a difference. Changes are coming for the good. Thank you Mr. Trump.'
Rhonda Hart, whose 14-year-old daughter, Kimberly Vaughan, was killed at the school, told The Associated Press that Trump repeatedly used the word 'wacky' to describe the shooter and the trench coat he wore. She said she told Trump, 'Maybe if everyone had access to mental health care, we wouldn't be in the situation.'
Hart, an Army veteran, said she also suggested employing veterans as sentinels in schools. She said Trump responded, 'And arm them?' She replied, 'No,' but said Trump 'kept mentioning' arming classroom teachers. 'It was like talking to a toddler,' Hart said.
He did not publicly share his message for the grieving families and local leaders during a meeting at a Coast Guard base outside Houston
Reporters were not permitted to witness the meeting.
While the president was in Texas, Trump's school safety commission met outside Washington, part of the president's chosen solution to combat the rising tide of bloodshed after his brief flirtation with tougher gun laws after February's mass killing at a high school in Parkland, Florida went nowhere.
A White House spokesman said Trump was 'moved' by the shooting at Santa Fe High School, which left eight students and two substitute teachers dead. A student faces capital murder charges in the attack.
'These events are very tragic, whenever they happen. And you know, the president wants to extend his condolences and talk about the issue of school safety,' spokesman Raj Shah told Fox News Channel.
'It was like talking to a toddler,' said Rhonda Hart, whose 14-year-old daughter, Kimberly Vaughan, was killed at the school