Two weeks after the Texas suburb of Santa Fe was traumatized when a teenager’s shooting spree resulted in 10 deaths and over a dozen wounded, President Donald Trump spent over an hour meeting with the families of the victims and local leaders. One of the grieving parents, however, wasn’t impressed with the president’s attempt to comfort those affected by the tragedy.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Rhonda Hart, an Army veteran whose 14-year-old daughter was one of the eight students killed, said that the president kept describing the shooter as “wacky” while constantly pointing out that he wore a trench coat.
“Maybe if everyone had access to mental health care, we wouldn’t be in the situation,” Hart said she told Trump in response.
Hart also noted that she suggested to the president that perhaps “employing veterans as sentinels in schools” could help with the issue of school shootings. Per Hart, Trump was obsessed with the notion of arming them and teachers, even though she said she didn’t think that was actually a solution.
“It was like talking to a toddler,” she observed.
Another parent at the private meeting, Pamela Stanich, praised the president, posting on Facebook that he “showed sincerity, compassion, and concern on making our schools safer across the nation.”
Since taking office, Trump has seemingly had a difficult time taking on the role of comforter-in-chief and expressing empathy for those affected by tragedy. Last fall, his phone call to the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson resulted in tears for the widow as he told her Johnson knew “what he signed up for.” A trip to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria featured the president infamously tossing paper towels at locals.
And just prior to heading to Houston, Trump told reporters that “we are going to have a little fun today,” leading to obvious criticism over his word choice for a meeting with grieving families.