on Saturday met with survivors and others affected by the Thousand Oaks bar shooting during his trip to California to visit areas damaged by several major wildfires.
Trump met with first responders and victims of the shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif. The bar, a popular hangout for local college students, was the site of a massacre earlier this month in which 12 people including the shooter were killed.
“We just hugged them and we kissed them — and everybody. And it was very warm,” the president said of his meeting with the victims and their families.
“It was tragic, and yet in one way it was a very beautiful moment,” he added.
The president spent Saturday touring areas of Malibu, California and elsewhere in the state that was damaged by deadly wildfires that have so far claimed dozens of lives and left many others unaccounted for as firefighters struggle to contain the blazes.
He was joined Saturday by state Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), with whom the president said he had discussed forest management as a possible reason for the wildfires’ ferocity.
His statements echoed disputed claims Trump made on Twitter last week appearing to blame local officials’ lack of attention to forest debris cleanup as partly to blame for the major blazes.
The remarks last week were criticized by firefighters in the state, including California Professional Firefighters President Brian Rice.
“The president’s message attacking California and threatening to withhold aid to the victims of the cataclysmic fires is Ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines,” Rice, the top firefighters’ union official in the state, said in a statement.
Trump meets with Thousand Oaks victims on California trip