During a meeting with a group of governors at the White House on Monday, President Donald Trump mentioned that he would have run into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – even without a gun – to stop the school shooter from harming the students.
“You don’t know until you test it, but I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon. And I think most of the people in this room would have done that, too,” Trump said, according to The Hill.
Trump has been a critic of Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Sheriff Scot Peterson, whose actions – or what some are criticizing as lack of action – spurred controversy after it was reported that he didn’t enter the school to stop the shooter, despite knowing that there was an active shooter situation taking place.
On Friday, the President referred to the sheriff as a “coward.”
“They weren’t exactly Medal of Honor winners, alright,” Trump said. “The way they performed was frankly disgusting.”
Peterson responded to President Trump’s comment through a statement that was prepared by his lawyer.
“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,” the statement said.
According to the statement, Peterson “heard gunshots but believed those gunshots were originating from outside of the buildings on school campus. (Broward Sheriff’s Office) trains its officers that in the event of gunfire one is took seek cover and assess the situation in order to communicate what one observes with other law enforcement.”
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel expressed his disappointment in his colleague and said: “I am devastated. Sick to my stomach. He never went in.”
The Sheriff recently participated in CNN’s State of the Union town hall where he clashed with Dana Loesch, who is the National Rifle Association’s spokeswoman.
Due to his inaction during the shooting incident, Peterson has been suspended on full pay, but he immediately retired.
While meeting with the governors, Trump mentioned that he recently ate lunch with leaders of the NRA to discuss potential solutions to prevent future school shootings.
“Don’t worry about the NRA,” Trump said to the governors. “They’re on our side.”
Meanwhile, companies that have partnerships with the NRA are receiving pressure from gun control advocates to sever their ties.
FedEx is one of the companies that has been targeted due to its relationship with the NRA. Currently, FedEx offers discounts to NRA members who use their services. Despite the controversy, FedEx responded on Twitter that they will keep providing their NRA discount.