'It's not going to be talk, like it has been in the past,' Trump says at listening session
Trump says school safety is top priority of his administration
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump hosted a listening session Wednesday with people affected by last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, as well as people affected by other school shootings, including the 1999 Columbine High School shooting and the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
"There are many ideas that I have and many ideas that other people have, and we're going to pick out the strongest ideas, the most important ideas, the ideas that are going to work and we're going to get them done," Trump said at the start of the meeting. "It's not going to be talk, like it has been in the past."
During the meeting, each participant took a turn voicing their concerns to the president.
"Everybody right now is so stuck on what they believe that they're not even listening to what other people believe," Stoneman Douglas student Ariana Klein said. "We need to listen to the other points of views. We all need to realize that we all have different points of views and the solution is not going to be a singular thing, it's going to be multi-faceted and it's going to be created by a collection of different people working together."
Meadow Pollack was one of the 17 victims killed in the shooting. Her father and brothers attended the listening session, where her father implored people to come together to find a solution that will prevent future school shootings from happening.
"It should have been one school shooting and we should have fixed it. And I'm pissed. It's my daughter I'm not going to see again," Andrew Pollack said.
Andrew Pollack said protecting schools across the country shouldn't be a difficult task.
"We protect airports, we protect concerts, stadiums, embassies, the Department of Education. I walked in today -- they had a security guard in the elevator. How do you think that makes me feel?" Pollack said. "In the elevator, they got a security guard. I'm very angry that this happened because it keeps happening. 9/11 happened once and they fixed everything.
"How many schools, how many children have to get shot? It stops here with this administration and me. I'm not going to sleep until it's fixed. And Mr. President, we're going to fix it because I'm going to fix it. I'm not going to rest."
Pollack said his daughter was shot nine times on the third floor of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Sam Zeif, whose text message exchange with his younger brother went viral after the shooting also spoke at the hearing.
"I was on the second floor in that building texting my mom, texting my dad, texting three of my brothers that I was never going to see them again, and then it occurred to me that my 14-year-old brother was directly above me in that classroom where Scott Beigel was murdered," Zeif said through tears. "Scott Beigel got my brother in the class. He was the last kid to get back into that class."
Zeif said that he didn't intend for his text message exchange with his brother to go viral on social media, but wanted to "to share with the world, because no brothers or sisters or family members or anyone should ever have to share those texts with anyone."
"And that's why I'm here," Zeif said. "I lost a best friend, who was practically a brother, and I'm here to use my voice because I know he can't."
Just outside the White House gates, students held a demonstration after streaming in by the hundreds through Union Station in Washington, D.C.
"We are tired of waiting for adults to take action," an MSD student said.
The students said they are hoping to send a message straight to the Oval Office.
"We are here to send a message to all the lawmakers bought and paid for by the NRA," one student said.
The president had already pledged to do something to protect the nation's children ahead of the meeting, even directing the U.S. attorney general to explore a bump stock ban.
On Wednesday he tweeted, "Whether we are Republican or Democrat, we must now focus on strengthening background checks!"
On Tuesday, Trump said, "School safety is a top priority for my administration,"
The White House is also not ruling out presidential support for an age limit on gun purchases.
"It's been many, many years, and there have been no solutions," Trump said. "We're going to come up with solutions."
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