Donald Trump said Sunday that the latest mass-shooting in a Texas church is ‘an act of evil’ that brought ‘pain and grief’ to the entire United States.
The president was scheduled to speak to business leaders at the Tokyo home of U.S. Ambassador William Haggerty. But instead the occasion’s energy shifted to the mass-casualty scene being investigated 6,400 miles away.
‘This act of evil occurred as the victims and their families were in their place of sacred worship,’ Trump said to reporters whose video feed flickered in and out back in the U.S.
‘We cannot put into words the pain and grief we all feel, and we cannot begin to imagine the suffering of those who lost the ones they love.’
‘But in dark times – and these are dark times – such as these, Americans do what they do best: We pull together,’ he said
Trump told the American public that ‘through the tears and through the sadness, we stand strong – oh, so strong.’
The president said he had spoken with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott already, ‘and we offer our thanks to the first responders, the FBI, all of the many people involved, both federal and otherwise.’
‘All of America is praying to God to help the wounded and the families of the victims,’ he said. ‘We will never, ever leave their side. Ever.’
Earlier on Sunday Trump tweeted support for the people of a small Texas town reeling from the day’s bloodshed. A little past 5:00 a.m. local time in Japan, the president said he had been briefed on the mass casualty shooting.
‘May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas,’ Trump wrote. ‘The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.’
He was joined by first lady Melania Trump who tweeted an hour later, ‘Our hearts are with #Texas,’ as other elected officials chimed in.
Twenty-six people were gunned down Sunday at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, a hamlet near San Antonio, including the pastor’s 14-year-old daughter.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters the president had been briefed several times early Monday morning in Japan.
‘Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the friends and families affected,’ Huckabee Sanders said. ‘May God comfort them all in this time of tragedy.’