Without mentioning anything about gun laws in the country, US President Donald Trump on Thursday urged children to seek help if they feel “lost, alone, confused or even scared.”
Speaking directly to children across the country following the school shooting spree by a heavily-armed 19-year-old ex-student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who killed 17 people, Trump stressed the need to address mental health issues in the US.
“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,” CNN quoted Trump as saying in televised remarks from the White House Diplomatic Reception Room.
“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,” he said.
The President said he would discuss policies to make schools safer with US governors and attorneys general later this month.
Trump said he was “making plans” to visit Parkland, Florida, where the shooting took place.
The President said the entire nation “with one heavy heart is praying for the victims and their families” and promised that his administration is working closely with state and local leaders investigating the attack.
“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,” Trump said.
“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,” he added.
The President’s Thursday’s remarks steered the debate towards the “mental health” issues rather than wading into the policy discussions surrounding gun laws in the US.
After the Texas church shooting in November, Trump also emphasised mental health, saying “mental health is your problem here … this isn’t a guns situation.”