President Trump praised first responders and doctors who tried to save as many victims as possible from the Parkland shooting during a surprise visit Friday at the Broward Health North hospital.
Trump praised the “speed” at which law enforcement officers reached Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when the first shots rang out to reporters gathered at the hospital.
“It’s very sad, something like that could happen. But the job the doctors did, the nurses, the hospital, first responders, law enforcement, really incredible. The speed that they got the victims over to the hospital is like — one case 20 minutes, in one case 19 minutes from the time of the shots. It’s an incredible thing,” Trump told reporters at the hospital, also praising doctors for the “incredible jobs” they were doing with the victims.
Trump made the visit to the hospital two days after former student Nikolas Cruz opened fire on his old school, killing 17 and wounding multiple people. Cruz told cops he was the shooter and has since been charged with seventeen counts of premeditated murder.
A report from a Washington Post reporter who accompanied the presidential motorcade to Broward said Trump spent about 35 minutes at the hospital in Pompano Beach and had a slightly longer visit at the sheriff’s office. The Post described the visit as typical for Trump after a natural disaster or massacre, noting he “spent much of his time congratulating the responders instead of memorializing the victims.”
In his meeting with Broward deputies and officers from other police agencies that evacuate the school and arrest shooter Nikolas Cruz, Trump asked each person to identify themselves. Michael Leonard, a Coconut Creek police officer who arrested the gunman after he had left the school grounds amid the chaos.
“With the assistance of my backup,” Cohen said of the arrest, saying it was him and another officer who actually handcuffed Cruz.
“That was so modest,” Trump said to laughter. “I would have told it much differently. I would have said: ‘Without me, they never would have found him.’”
The visit highlighted the priority Trump places on law enforcement in public appearances. Trump’s favorite form of communication, his Twitter page, now features a group photo from his visit to the sheriff’s office, with a beaming Trump giving a thumbs up with Scott on his left, his wife on his right and uniformed police on either side.
Sheriff Scott Israel said Trump spent about 30 minutes visiting a Parkland victim who was the son of one of his deputies.
“I’ll never forget that, and for you to do something like that is amazing” Israel said. “And it shows what you think of law enforcement, and we appreciate it.”
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