President Trump falsely claimed on Wednesday that the massacre at Pulse nightclub “wouldn’t have happened” if anyone in the nightclub had been armed at the time of the attack, despite the fact that there was an armed person at Pulse nightclub at the time of the attack.
During a televised White House meeting on gun violence between a group of bipartisan lawmakers, Trump cited the Orlando attack while making an argument against “gun-free zones.” According to Trump, “gun free” schools and nightclubs make attractive targets for gunmen intent on carrying out mass shootings.
“As an example, you take Pulse nightclub — if you had one person in that room that could carry a gun and knew how to use it, it wouldn’t have happened, or certainly not to the extent it did, where he was just in there shooting, and shooting and shooting and they were just defenseless,” Trump said.
However, Orlando police Officer Adam Gruler was working as off-duty security at the club on the night of the attack.
According to Orlando police, Gruler first exchanged gunfire with gunman Omar Mateen outside the club. The officer did not enter club, he retreated to call for backup.
The Pulse nightclub shooting claimed 49 lives on June 12, 2016.
This is not the first time Trump has falsely claimed that no one at Pulse was armed.
“If you had some guns in that club the night that this took place, if you had guns on the other side, you wouldn’t have had the tragedy that you had,” the then-presidential candidate told CNN in a June 2016 interview, the day after the attack. “If people in that room had guns with the bullets flying in the opposite direction right at him… right at his head, you wouldn’t have had the same tragedy that you ended up having.”
Days later, he repeated a similar argument at a campaign rally in Atlanta.
“If some of those great people that were in that club that night had guns strapped to their waist or strapped to their ankle, and if the bullets were going in the other direction, aimed at this guy who was just open target practice,” he said, “you would’ve had a situation, folks.”
Trump later clarified on Twitter that he was “obviously talking about additional guards or employees.”