Donald Trump said on Saturday that the FBI had missed the warning signs of the suspect in the Florida high school shooting because it had been "spending too much time" investigating his campaign’s links with Russia.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has come under pressure in recent days after it admitted it failed to act on a tip off it received about 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who is accused of killing 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
First it was revealed that the FBI failed to delve into a YouTube comment posted by a "Nikolas Cruz" that said, "Im going to be a professional school shooter." The FBI said it could not determine who made it.
On Friday, the bureau said it had failed to act on a tip that Cruz had a "desire to kill people," disturbing social media posts and access to a gun.
The US President has also faced criticism for not addressing the subject of gun control in the days after the shooting. Survivors of the shooting and relatives of the victims have demanded action after it emerged that Cruz was able to legally buy a semi-automatic firearm despite a history of troubling and violent behaviour.
Mr Trump laid the blame at the FBI and the Democrats in a pair of tweets on Saturday.
Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018
Just like they don’t want to solve the DACA problem, why didn’t the Democrats pass gun control legislation when they had both the House & Senate during the Obama Administration. Because they didn’t want to, and now they just talk!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2018
The president travelled to Florida on Friday to meet privately with victims of the shooting and hailed the heroics of first responders.
But he extended few public words of consolation to those in deep mourning, nor did he address the debate over gun violence that has raged since Wednesday’s mass shooting.
At a rally on Saturday, a survivor attacked him over the multi-million-dollar support his campaign received from the National Rifle Association and for overturning a measure implemented by former President Barack Obama that required extra scrutiny of some gun buyers with a history of mental illness.
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"We are going to be the last mass shooting… We are going to change the law," Emma Gonzalez vowed.
"They say that tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS!" Florida high school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez calls on President Trump and lawmakers to tighten gun restrictions in impassioned speech at an anti-gun rally in Fort Lauderdale https://t.co/DgnqrrVs9x
— CNN (@CNN) February 17, 2018
The FBI’s acknowledgment that it mishandled the tip prompted a sharp rebuke from its boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and a call from Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott, a Trump ally, for FBI Director Christopher Wray to resign.
Mr Trump and other Republicans have heavily criticised the FBI. They are still dissatisfied with its decision not to charge Hillary Clinton with crimes related to her use of a private email server, and they see signs of bias in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of possible Trump campaign ties to Russia.