Politics

Trump on Las Vegas: ‘An Act of Pure Evil’

President announces he will go to Nevada on Wednesday after country’s worst-ever mass shooting

President Donald Trump makes a statement on the Las Vegas mass shooting in the Diplomatic Room of the White House Monday morning. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Updated at 12:24 p.m. | President Donald Trump on Monday called the mass shooting in Las Vegas that left nearly 60 dead and more than 500 injured an “act of pure evil” and announced he will travel to the Nevada city Wednesday.

Trump spoke from the White House around 11 a.m., striking a unifying tone after the worst gun massacre in American history. The president said “America comes together as one, and it always has.

“We call upon the bonds that unite us — our faith, our family and our shared values. We call upon the bonds of citizenship, the ties of community and the comfort of our common humanity,” Trump said. “Our unity cannot be shattered by evil. Our bond cannot be broken by violence. And though we feel such great anger at the senseless murder of our fellow citizens, it is our love that defines us today — and always will, forever.”

Watch Trump’s Full Remarks After the Las Vegas Shooting

Local law enforcement officials said around 9 a.m. local time that 58 people were dead and more than 500 had been treated for injuries.

Speaking from the ornate Diplomatic Room standing beneath a portrait of George Washington, Trump declared Americans are “joined together today in sadness, shock and grief.” Those killed were attending the final act of a three-day country music festival and were “brutally murdered” when a man opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino.

Trump said he would travel to Las Vegas Wednesday to meet with law enforcement officials, first responders and family members of victims. He thanked the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for locating the gunman so quickly and moving in on him, as well as officers on the ground whom he said saved countless lives.

Earlier Monday, the president offered his “warmest condolences and sympathies” to the victims and family members of those affected.

A suspected “lone wolf” gunman, identified by police as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, opened fire from a hotel room in the Mandalay Bay on the Vegas Strip. Videos posted on social media showed concert goers fleeing and taking cover as amid a rapid and steady “pop, pop, pop” of gunfire.

Local police said 50 people were confirmed dead and 200 more were injured. They also said more than 400 people were transported to area hospitals, which reported being “overwhelmed.”

“My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!” Trump tweeted at 7:11 a.m. EDT.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said minutes earlier that Trump had been “briefed on the horrific tragedy in Las Vegas.”

“We are monitoring the situation closely and offer our full support to state and local officials,” she said in a statement. “All of those affected are in our thoughts and prayers.”

A senior official said media reports that the White House was reviewing the president’s Tuesday trip to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico were “not accurate.”

Trump often casts himself as a defender of the Second Amendment, and said in recent days that had Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton been elected instead last year, she would have attempted to erode Americans’ ability to purchase firearms.

Trump last delivered his Second Amendment line during a Sept. 22 campaign rally in Huntsville, Alabama, for incumbent appointed GOP Sen. Luther Strange. He told a friendly audience that the Supreme Court justice he nominated, Neil Gorsuch, will “save how about a thing called your Second Amendment.

“If crooked Hillary got elected, you would not have a Second Amendment, believe me,” Trump declared. “You’d be handing in your rifles. You’d be saying here, here, here they are.”

“You’d be turning over your rifles,” Trump roared as the crowd jeered.

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