Another mass shooting, another tweet from President Trump.
Shortly after news broke Friday that a shooting had occurred at a Texas high school, leaving at least eight students dead, the president followed a now familiar routine that he began before he took office, issuing a quick message to the nation via Twitter.
School shooting in Texas. Early reports not looking good. God bless all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2018
Many found the brief tweet jarring, especially as Trump had just issued two tweets attacking the FBI and Democrats over the Russia probe. In responding to ongoing tragedies, presidents have typically gone out of their way to express empathy with the victims and the broader community. Vice President Mike Pence issued such a response to the Friday shooting in Santa Fe, Texas.
To the students, families, teachers of Santa Fe High School, all of those affected and the entire community: We are with you, you are in our prayers, and you're in the prayers of the American people. pic.twitter.com/8bhPWyK7vR
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) May 18, 2018
Trump, by contrast, is known for his off-the-cuff responses to such events, although his staff may be involved in drafting some of his tweets.
When a gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016, leaving 50 dead and another 53 wounded, Trump was criticized for taking credit for his views opposing Islamic terrorism.
Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 20116
The president tweeted about the Nov. 5, 2017, mass shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, while traveling abroad.
May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2017
Nine days later, however, in an apparent response to a shooting at Rancho Tehama Elementary in Northern California, Trump fired off an odd tweet that read, “May God be with the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI and Law Enforcement has arrived.” That tweet was quickly deleted.
The morning after a gunman rained down bullets on an outdoor concert in Las Vegas, in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, Trump sent out a tweet aimed at the victims and their families.
My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2017
It took Trump more than 36 hours to respond to a shooting at Marshall County High School in Kentucky that left two dead and injured 18 others.
Earlier today, I spoke with @GovMattBevin of Kentucky regarding yesterday’s shooting at Marshall County High School. My thoughts and prayers are with Bailey Holt, Preston Cope, their families, and all of the wounded victims who are in recovery. We are with you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2018
On Feb. 14, following the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Trump quickly tweeted out a message of support.
My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2018
Four days later, however, another Trump tweet on what had transpired at Parkland drew the ire of survivors.
Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018
When a woman opened fire with a 9 mm Smith & Wesson handgun at the Silicon Valley headquarters of YouTube, the president offered his “thoughts and prayers.”
Was just briefed on the shooting at YouTube’s HQ in San Bruno, California. Our thoughts and prayers are with everybody involved. Thank you to our phenomenal Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders that are currently on the scene.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 3, 2018
Hours after his initial tweet about Friday’s shooting at Santa Fe High School, the president posted another tweet that included video of him speaking in greater depth about the the latest lives lost to gun violence.
We grieve for the terrible loss of life, and send our support and love to everyone affected by this horrible attack in Texas. To the students, families, teachers and personnel at Santa Fe High School – we are with you in this tragic hour, and we will be with you forever… pic.twitter.com/LtJ0D29Hsv
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2018
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- Photos: Shooting at Santa Fe High School in Galveston County, Texas