President Trump confidently said Monday that if he ever finds himself on school grounds when a shooting breaks out, he would run into the building — even if he didn't have a gun.
But White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters during a press briefing Monday afternoon that what the president meant was that he would "be a leader" — not that he would heroically storm a building where there is an active shooter.
During a gathering of U.S. governors at the White House, Trump criticized Scot Peterson, the sheriff's deputy assigned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who remained outside as the Feb. 14 shooting unfolded.
"You don't know until you test it, but I really believe I'd run in there even if I didn't have a weapon,” Trump told the governors. "And I think most of the people in this room would have done that, too."
"They weren’t exactly Medal of Honor winners, alright?" Trump added, signaling that he believed the Broward County Sheriff's deputies who didn't go into the school were at fault for not reacting quickly to the shooting. "The way they performed was frankly disgusting."
The White House changed its tune in the afternoon, when Sanders was asked about the presidents's comments earlier in the day. According to CNN's Kaitlan Collins, Sanders told reporters that "[Trump] would be a leader and would want to take a courageous action. A lot of the individuals that helped protect others that day weren't carrying firearms, which shows you can be helpful in that process."
Social media users were less than impressed at the president's comments. Folks were quick to remind everyone that in his early 20s Trump dodged being drafted during the Vietnam war a total of five times — four times because of college and one because he was diagnosed with bone spurs in his heels.
Ever since the school shooting, which left 17 dead, Trump has advocated for arming a percentage of teachers or school staff — an idea that has been rejected by educators, law enforcement, and lawmakers.
During the meeting, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told Trump the idea of being armed around children and teenagers had left his constituents alarmed. He said that he spoken with everyone from biology teachers to law enforcement, and they have rejected the proposition.
"We need to listen that educators should educate and they shouldn't be foisted upon this responsibility of packing heat in first grade classes," Inslee told Trump, before continuing, "I just suggest we need a little less tweeting here, a little more listening. Let’s just take that off the table and move forward."
This story was originally published at 2:45 p.m. It has since been updated.