Former President Donald Trump on Friday will call for arming “law-abiding” Americans in response to the “evil” mass-murder of 21 people Tuesday at an elementary school.
Trump’s Houston address to a National Rifle Association convention — in the same state as the Uvalde massacre — will also call for increasing funds for mental health programs and efforts to “harden” school security, according to excerpts shared with The Post.
“Each precious young soul that was taken is an incomprehensible loss — stolen from us by a malice that no words can describe,” Trump will say, according to excerpts released by his team.
“While we don’t yet know enough about this week’s killing, we know there are many things we must do. We need to drastically change our approach to mental health. There are always so many warning signs.”
Trump will say that “our school discipline systems, instead of making excuses and continually turning a blind eye, need to confront bad behavior head on.”
“We also have to deal with the problem of broken families—because no law can cure the effects of a broken home. There is no substitute for a strong mom and a great dad,” the ex-president’s prepared remarks go on.
“All of us must unite, Republican and Democrat — in every state, and at every level of government — to finally harden our schools and protect our children. What we need now is a top-to-bottom security overhaul at schools across this country.”
Salvador Ramos, 18, used a legally purchased AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle to carry out the massacre, authorities said. Before driving to the school, he shot his grandmother, with whom he was living, though she survived.
Some conservative commentators emphasized the fact that Ramos’ parents were no longer in a relationship and that he reportedly had a poor relationship with his mother, who according to some accounts abused drugs.
In his speech, Trump will also reprise his “America Focus” emphasis by working in a swipe at the $40 billion that Congress recently approved to help Ukraine fight off Russia’s three-month invasion.
“If the United States has $40 billion dollars to send to Ukraine, we should be able to do whatever it takes to keep our children safe at home,” Trump will say. “We spent trillions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and got nothing for it. Before we nation-build the rest of the world, we should be building safe schools for our own children in our own nation.”
Trump, speaking after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who attended the convention, and Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas), who delivered pre-taped remarks, will also defiantly press for protecting the rights of gun owners.
The latest from the Texas school shooting
“The existence of evil in our world is not a reason to disarm law-abiding citizens—the existence of evil is one of the very best reasons to arm law-abiding citizens,” the prepared copy of his speech declares.
“The very same Democrat politicians who stoked riots over a single police-involved killing two years ago are numb to the mounting death toll of their own radical policies—but we must not be. Big city mayors like Lori Lightfoot in Chicago, Muriel Bowser in Washington, and Jim Kenney in Philadelphia watch the slaughter day in and day out, and do nothing. But we must act.”
It’s unclear if Trump will endorse any gun control measures in his remarks — as he did during his presidency.
Cruz and Abbott railed against efforts to curb gun ownership in their remarks to the NRA event.
Cruz asserted that it was time to analyze “the cultural sickness giving birth to unspeakable acts of evil” — mentioning as possible contributors “declining church attendance,” “broken families,” “social media bullying,” social isolation, “violent online content” and video games.
Abbott suggested that laws aimed at curbing massacres might not work, as “laws didn’t stop the killer.”
“In Uvalde, the gunman committed a felony under Texas law before he even pulled the trigger,” Abbott said. “It’s a felony to possess a firearm on school premises. But that did not stop him. And what he did on campus is capital murder. That’s a crime that would have subjected him to the death penalty in Texas.”
As president, Trump upset gun rights advocates in 2018 by expressing a willingness to enact reforms in response to the murder of 17 people at a Parkland, Fla., high school by 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who used a legally purchased AR-15-style rifle.
Trump endorsed a higher age limit for AR-15 rifles, background checks for private gun sales and reforms to let police “take the guns first, go through due process second” to reduce the risk posed by mentally ill people.
“I like taking the guns early,” Trump said at the time. “Like, in this crazy man’s case that just took place in Florida. He had a lot of firearms; they saw everything. To go to court would have taken a long time. You could do exactly what you’re saying, but take the guns first, go through due process second.”
Later that year, he Trump administration banned “bump stocks” that hasten the firing rate of semiautomatic rifles in response to that tool’s role in the murder of 60 people at a Las Vegas concert in 2017.
Democrats in Congress rallied to pass new gun laws in response to the Uvalde school schooling and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday that Republicans would be open to a bipartisan bill that “directly” addresses the issues in the Texas shooting.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) mentioned Wednesday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that she sponsors legislation to raise the age limit for AR-15s. She noted that 18- to 21-year-old adults cannot legally buy a beer.
The Uvalde shooting followed the murder of 10 people at a Buffalo grocery store on May 14. The 18-year-old suspect in that crime, Payton Gendron, also used a legally purchased AR-15-style rifle after posting online a white supremacist manifesto.