The president renewed his criticism of officers outside the Florida school, while speaking to lawmakers who returned to session on Monday
Donald Trump has renewed his criticism of an armed sheriffs deputy whofailed to enter a high school in Parkland, Florida, during a mass shooting this month, saying he would have run into the building even if he did not possess a weapon.
Addressing a gathering of 39 state governors at the White House, Trump said officers who were outside the school at the time of the shooting werent exactly medal of honor winners.
The way they performed was really a disgrace, he added. I really believe Id run in there even if I didnt have a weapon.
The president spoke as lawmakers returned to Washington following a week-long recess and amid intensifying debate over gun laws.
The 14 February massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, in which 17 people were killed, has forced Congress to contend yet again with one of the most politically controversial issues.
Trump has pushed for arming teachers a proposal that has been pilloried by educators. In doing so he has repeatedly criticised Scot Peterson, the armed school resource deputy who waited outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school as the shooting transpired. Peterson resigned, after being suspended without pay.
Trump has publicly attacked Peterson as a coward who he said doesnt love the children, probably doesnt know the children.
Peterson denied the allegation in a written statement released through his lawyer on Monday, saying he had not entered the building because he believed the gunfire was coming from outside.
Mr Peterson wishes that he could have prevented the untimely passing of the 17 victims, the attorney, Joseph DiRuzzo, wrote.
However, the allegations that Mr Peterson was a coward and that his performance, under the circumstances, failed to meet the standards of police officers, are patently untrue.
On Sunday, the Broward County sheriff, Scott Israel, told CNN he was investigating the behavior of three other deputies, who the network reported had been at the campus but had not entered the school.
On Monday, Trump continued to call on Congress to take action on gun law a departure from his response to previous shootings under his watch. The president has signaled support for tightening background checks and instructed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to work on a memorandum to outlaw bump stocks the attachments that enable semiautomatic rifles and other devices to fire faster.
Lawmakers are likely, however, to face familiar obstacles in passing even modest legislation, as midterm elections loom.
The National Rifle Association has also come out aggressively against any new restrictions, even as public support for stricter gun laws has risen to its highest level since the early 1990s, according to a CNN poll released on Sunday.
Trump told the group of governors on Monday he believed the NRA was open to at least some changes to gun laws, noting he had had dinner with the groups leaders Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox over the weekend.
Dont worry about the NRA, theyre on our side, Trump said. Half of you are so afraid of the NRA. Theres nothing to be afraid of.