After offering his “prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting” and mentioning his conversation with Florida Governor Rick Scott Wednesday afternoon, President Trump finally addressed the devastating high school shooting in Parkland, Florida Thursday morning. Instead of offering a televised address as his predecessors had so often done following similarly tragic school shootings, however, Trump acknowledged the incident with an accusatory tweet declaring the suspect, 17-year-old Nikolas Cruz, to be a “mentally disturbed” person.
“So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior,” he tweeted with veiled references to reports of previous complaints against the suspect. “Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!” The phrasing Trump used in this tweet seems to lay the blame solely on Cruz and those who didn’t report him. What’s more, the tweet was also confusingly attached to a DACA tweet from Tuesday that had absolutely nothing to do with Wednesday’s shooting.
According to multiple White House sources, Trump’s advisers had urged him to address the nation on Wednesday, but he ultimately decided not to. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders did say that the administration was “pretty focused on the Florida shooting,” but subsequently declared a lid at 6:15 pm ET, meaning that neither Trump nor anyone else affiliated with the White House would be publicly addressing the matter later that night. His reasons are unclear, though considering the fact that he signed a bill that revoked Obama-era gun control measures for the mentally ill this time last year, Trump probably wanted to avoid any time in front of the press.