Trump meeting with victims of Las Vegas shooting

2017-10-04 22:57
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump step off Air Force One upon arrival at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas on October 4, 2017. (AFP)

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump step off Air Force One upon arrival at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas on October 4, 2017. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Las Vegas - US President Donald Trump met privately with victims of the Las Vegas shooting at a hospital Wednesday after he touched down in a city still reeling from the worst gun massacre in modern US history.

Air Force One landed at the airport near the famed Las Vegas strip on a bright, sunny morning just days after a gunman on the 32nd floor of a hotel and casino opened fire on people at an outdoor country music festival below. The Sunday night rampage killed at least 59 people and injured 527, some from gunfire and some from a chaotic escape.

"It's a very sad thing. We are going to pay our respects and to see the police who have done really a fantastic job in a very short time," Trump told reporters before departing the White House. He said that authorities were "learning a lot more" about the shooter, Stephen Craig Paddock, and that more details would be "announced at an appropriate time."

"It's a very, very sad day for me personally," he said.

Trump's first stop was the University Medical Center, where he was speaking privately with victims of the Sunday night shooting rampage, their families, and medical professionals. On his trip from the airport, the president's motorcade drove past the Mandalay Bay hotel where the gunman fired down into the concert crowd. The president also drove past his own Trump hotel.

Trump's trip to Las Vegas follows his Tuesday travel to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico - a pair of back-to-back episodes that are testing his ability to unite and lift the nation in times of strife. Trump, a leader who excels at political provocation and prides himself on commanding strength, has sometimes struggled to project empathy.

'Really horrible' 

During Tuesday's trip, he highlighted Puerto Rico's relatively low death toll compared with "a real catastrophe like Katrina"' when as many as 1,800 people died in 2005 as levees protecting New Orleans broke. He also pointed repeatedly to praise his administration had received for its efforts, despite criticism on the island of a sluggish response.

Trump has a long personal connection to Las Vegas - a city where his name is written in huge golden letters atop his hotel. He also campaigned extensively across Nevada during his presidential campaign, drawing large crowds to rallies along the Las Vegas strip.

Trump told reporters on Tuesday night that his trip would include spending time with "some of the folks that are recovering, some of the survivors", and seemed emotional as he spoke about the human toll.

"We're going to be seeing - ah it's a very, it's very, it's a very - horrible thing, even to think about. Really horrible," he said. "We're also meeting with the police, the sheriff, and we're going to spend quite a lot of time in Las Vegas."

Trump was joined by first lady Melania Trump. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he and Rep. Mark Amodei, a Nevada Republican, also would make the trip.

Trump offered somber remarks about the shooting from the White House on Monday, saying "our unity cannot be shattered by evil, our bonds cannot be broken by violence".

Republicans who control Congress have made clear they have no intention of taking up gun control measures, such as tightening restrictions on semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines, in the shooting's aftermath.

Trump, in a 2000 book, said that he supported a prohibition on assault weapons and a "slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun." He also said in 2013 that he supported "background checks to weed out the sickos".

But Trump ran his campaign with a strong pro-Second Amendment message and the backing of the National Rifle Association.

"Gun and magazine bans are a total failure," read one campaign policy paper. "Opponents of gun rights try to come up with scary sounding phrases like 'assault weapons,' 'military-style weapons' and 'high capacity magazines' to confuse people. What they're really talking about are popular semi-automatic rifles and standard magazines that are owned by tens of millions of Americans."

On Tuesday, Trump appeared somewhat open to having a debate on guns, but not anytime soon.

"At some point, perhaps, that will come," he told reporters. "But that's not for now."


Read more on:    donald trump  |  las vegas

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.