WASHINGTON- President Donald Trump on Monday lashed out at Broward County sheriff's deputies for not going into the Parkland school and confronting the killer and said he would have gone in "even if I didn't have a weapon."
"I really believe I'd run in there even if I didn't have a weapon," Trump said during a meeting with governors, including Florida's Rick Scott who on Sunday called for an investigation into the law enforcement response.
Hours later, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders sought to clarify the remark. "He was just stating that as a leader he would have stepped in and hopefully been able to help."
Scott was there to describe his response plan for the president and other governors in the room.
"Our nation is heartbroken," Trump added. "We'll turn our grief into action."
Trump said he would take action on bump stocks if Congress does not act, and called for a revitalization of mental institutions and make it easier for law enforcement to take away guns from the mentally ill.
"In the old days" it was easier to commit people who acted "like a boiler ready to explode" to mental institutions, Trump said.
Referring to numerous reports about Nikolas Cruz's behavior before the rampage, Trump criticized law enforcement. "The only worse job is they didn't nab this guy earlier."
Trump wasn't the only official to say he would run into the active shooter scenario without a weapon. In a separate Fox News interview Monday morning, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi offered a similar sentiment.
"When you have a school full of students and your duty is to protect those students — if I was there and I didn't have a firearm I would have gone into that scene," Bondi said on Fox and Friends.
The Broward County Sheriff's Office's response to the shooting has come under intense scrutiny in recent days, with dozens of House republicans calling for Sheriff Scott Israel's ouster in a letter Sunday.
Whether Gov. Scott will suspend Israel, arguably the most powerful Democrat in Broward County, remains to be seen.
Kirby Wilson contributed reporting.