WASHINGTON – President Trump called for national mourning in the wake of the South Florida school massacre and said he plans to visit Parkland soon.
"Today I speak to a nation in grief," the president said. "Our entire nation, with one heavy heart, is praying for the victims and their families."
"Each person who was stolen from us yesterday had a full life ahead of them, a life filled with wondrous beauty and unlimited potential and promise. Each one had dreams to pursue, love to give and talents to share with the world and each one had a family to whom they meant everything in the world."
Trump also thanked first responders for their courage and said he offered Gov. Rick Scott any assistance needed.
Trump did not say when he would visit Parkland, and he did not address guns, rather saying his administration is committed to working with state and local leaders "to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health."
Last year, Trump signed legislation that ended an Obama-era policy making it more difficult for some people with mental illness to purchase guns.
"I want to speak now directly to America's children, especially those who feel lost, alone, confused or even scared," Trump said. "I want you to know that you are never alone and you never will be.
"You have people who care about you, who love you and who will do anything at all to protect you. If you need help, turn to a teacher, a family member, a local police officer or a faith leader. Answer hate with love. Answer cruelty with kindness."
His full remarks:
THE PRESIDENT: My fellow Americans, today I speak to a nation in grief. Yesterday, a school filled with innocent children and caring teachers became the scene of terrible violence, hatred, and evil.
Around 2:30 yesterday afternoon, police responded to reports of gunfire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida — a great and safe community. There, a shooter, who is now in custody, opened fire on defenseless students and teachers. He murdered 17 people and badly wounded at least 14 others.
Our entire nation, with one heavy heart, is praying for the victims and their families. To every parent, teacher, and child who is hurting so badly, we are here for you — whatever you need, whatever we can do, to ease your pain. We are all joined together as one American family, and your suffering is our burden also.
No child, no teacher, should ever be in danger in an American school. No parent should ever have to fear for their sons and daughters when they kiss them goodbye in the morning.
Each person who was stolen from us yesterday had a full life ahead of them — a life filled with wondrous beauty and unlimited potential and promise. Each one had dreams to pursue, love to give, and talents to share with the world. And each one had a family to whom they meant everything in the world.
Today, we mourn for all of those who lost their lives. We comfort the grieving and the wounded. And we hurt for the entire community of Parkland, Florida that is now in shock, in pain, and searching for answers.
To law enforcement, first responders, and teachers who responded so bravely in the face of danger: We thank you for your courage. Soon after the shooting, I spoke with Governor Scott to convey our deepest sympathies to the people of Florida and our determination to assist in any way that we can. I also spoke with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.
I'm making plans to visit Parkland to meet with families and local officials, and to continue coordinating the federal response.
In these moments of heartache and darkness, we hold on to God's word in scripture: "I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you."
We trust in that promise, and we hold fast to our fellow Americans in their time of sorrow.
I want to speak now directly to America's children, especially those who feel lost, alone, confused or even scared: I want you to know that you are never alone and you never will be. You have people who care about you, who love you, and who will do anything at all to protect you. If you need help, turn to a teacher, a family member, a local police officer, or a faith leader. Answer hate with love; answer cruelty with kindness.
We must also work together to create a culture in our country that embraces the dignity of life, that creates deep and meaningful human connections, and that turns classmates and colleagues into friends and neighbors.
Our administration is working closely with local authorities to investigate the shooting and learn everything we can. We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools, and tackle the difficult issue of mental health.
Later this month, I will be meeting with the nation's governors and attorney generals, where making our schools and our children safer will be our top priority. It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference. We must actually make that difference.
In times of tragedy, the bonds that sustain us are those of family, faith, community, and country. These bonds are stronger than the forces of hatred and evil, and these bonds grow even stronger in the hours of our greatest need.
And so always, but especially today, let us hold our loved ones close, let us pray for healing and for peace, and let us come together as one nation to wipe away the tears and strive for a much better tomorrow.
Thank you. And God Bless you all. Thank you very much.