Mother of Santa Fe shooting victim: Meeting with Donald Trump 'was like talking to a toddler'


When President Donald Trump on Thursday met with victims, families and others affected by the shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas, which left 10 people dead and 13 wounded, at least one parent was not impressed with his demeanor, continuing a pattern of the president failing to show empathy during tragedies.

Rhonda Hart, whose daughter, Kimberly Vaughan, was among eight students who died in the shooting last month, told The Associated Press her conversation with Trump “was like talking to a toddler.” 

According to Hart, Trump repeatedly brought up arming teachers, a policy proposal he has frequently promoted after school shootings. 

Hart, an Army veteran, said she also suggested employing veterans as sentinels in schools. She said Trump responded, “And arm them?” She replied, “No,” but said Trump “kept mentioning” arming classroom teachers. “It was like talking to a toddler,” Hart said.

She said the president also focused on the shooter and his appearance, repeatedly describing him as “wacky.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the meeting, which was closed to reporters.

More on the Santa Fe High School shooting:

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Victims of the Santa Fe High School shooting
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Victims of the Santa Fe High School shooting
Cynthia Tisdale 

Cynthia's brother-in-law posted on Facebook that she "planned on one day retiring and being a full-time grandmother."

(Photo: John Tisdale/Facebook)

This is Sabika, she’s a friend of ours and she’s an exchange student from Pakistan. Today, she was killed in the sc… https://t.co/oPGdU29Apx
A tough update to bring you. @abc13houston has learned Chris Stone was one of the students killed at Santa Fe High… https://t.co/jfGERVXh4s
Family confirms this is Angelique Ramirez, one of several people killed in the shooting at Santa Fe High School. 💔… https://t.co/wm2p2bG30V
Shana Fisher’s aunt Candi Thurman confirmed on Twitter her niece didn’t survive the shooting
The family of Kyle McLeod, a student at Santa Fe High School, confirmed to ABC News that the young man was killed during the shooting.
Kim Vaughn’s mother, Rhonda Hart, said in a Facebook post earlier Friday that her daughter was in first-period art class at the time of the shooting. Her family later confirmed to ABC News that she had died.
Jared Black had just turned 17 the week he was killed. His birthday party had been planned for Saturday, but now his parents must make arrangements for his funeral.
Substitute teacher Ann Perkins was one of two adults killed in the shooting. She was often affectionately referred to as “Grandma Perkins,” CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reported.
Christian Garcia, 15, loved riding Jet Skis and night fishing with his family, The Washington Post reported.
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On Thursday, deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters on Air Force One that the meeting was “very impactful” and “a very emotional time.”

“I don’t want to get into the private meeting as it relates to the grieving families that experienced such a horrific tragedy. But it was very impactful. It was a very emotional time,” he said. “They’ve suffered a great loss and a great tragedy. And out of respect for them and the grieving process, I’m not going to get into the details of the meeting.”

While presidents have long assumed the role of “consoler-in-chief” as part of their leadership duties, Trump has regularly demonstrated a lack of empathy in responding to tragedies, from school shootings to deadly storms.

After the shooting massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February, survivor Samantha Fuentes told The New York Times that Trump “didn’t make me feel better in the slightest” and that she had “never been so unimpressed by a person in my life.”

During a White House listening session after the shooting, Trump was seen holding a notecard reminding him to tell victims and families that “I hear you.”

Related: Inside the listening session:

30 PHOTOS
President Trump holds a listening session to discuss school safety
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President Trump holds a listening session to discuss school safety
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Samuel Zeif wipes tears next to Nicole Hockley of Sandy Hook Promise as U.S. President Donald Trump hosts a listening session with high school shooting survivors and students to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US President Donald Trump (C), with US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (2nd L) and Vice President Muike Pence (2nd R), bows his head during a prayer before taking in a listening session on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was one of the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, center, speaks during a listening session with U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, on gun violence with high school students, teachers and parents in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Trump promised on Wednesday to act quickly to prevent more school shootings as often-tearful, occasionally angry survivors and parents of victims poured out their frustration to him in a remarkable White House meeting. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump holds his prepared questions as he hosts a listening session with high school students and teachers to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Parent Melissa Blank (L) and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting surviving students Jonathan Blank (C) and Julia Cordover (R) listen to other survivors and the families of victims as U.S. President Donald Trump holds a listening session to discuss school safety and shootings at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House Communications Director Hope Hicks watches as US President Donald Trump takes part in a listening session on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US Vice President Mike Pence takes part in a listening session on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump takes part in a listening session on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 21, 2018. Trump promised more stringent background checks on gun owners Wednesday as he hosted a group of students who survived last week's mass shooting at a Florida high school. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Nicole Hockley, mother of a slain Sandy Hook Elementary School student, attends a listening session hosted by U.S. President Donald Trump for school shooting survivors and students in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting surviving students Jonathan Blank (2nd L) and Julia Cordover (2nd R) as well as Jonathan's mother Melissa Blank (L) listen along with U.S. President Donald Trump as survivors and the relatives of victims speak during a listening session with high school students, family members and teachers to discuss school safety and guns at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018 REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 21: (AFP OUT) Andrew Pollack (2nd L), whose daughter Meadow Pollack was shot to death last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is joined by his sons as he addresses a listening session with U.S. President Donald Trump in the State Dining Room at the White House February 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump hosted the session about school safety in the wake of last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students and teachers dead. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump hosts a listening session with high school students and teachers to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018 REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 21: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump hosts a listening session with student survivors of school shootings, their parents, teachers and others in the State Dining Room at the White House February 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump hosted the session in the wake of last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students and teachers dead. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for a listening session with high school students and teachers to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018 REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump hosts a listening session with high school students and teachers to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Samuel Zeif cries after his remarks to U.S. President Donald Trump during his listening session with school shooting survivors and students at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to host a listening session with high school students who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and teachers to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018 REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Samuel Zeif, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student, cries after speaking at a listening session with U.S. President Donald Trump, second right, on gun violence with high school students, teachers and parents in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Trump promised on Wednesday to act quickly to prevent more school shootings as often-tearful, occasionally angry survivors and parents of victims poured out their frustration to him in a remarkable White House meeting. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US President Donald Trump takes part in a listening session on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 21, 2018. Trump vows 'strong background checks' as he met with school shooting survivors. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting surviving students Jonathan Blank receives a hug from Sandy Hook parent Mark Barden (back to camera), whose son Daniel was a victim of the Sandy Hook School shooting in Connecticut, after U.S. President Donald Trump held a listening session with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors and students at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump departs after a listening session with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors and students at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School parent Andrew Pollack discusses the death of his daughter Meadow in the Parkland school shooting as he and his sons attend a listening session on school safety and shootings with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos takes part in a listening session on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 21, 2018. Trump vows 'strong background checks' as he met with school shooting survivors. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Samuel Zeif gestures a "zero" and says that he believes Australia solved their school shooting problem by banning firearms, when delivering his remarks to U.S. President Donald Trump during his listening session with school shooting survivors and students at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Samuel Zeif (L) talks about a friend who was shot and killed as he delivers his remarks to U.S. President Donald Trump during a listening session with school shooting survivors and students at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 21: (AFP OUT) White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (C) and White House Communications Director Hope Hicks (R) attends a listening session hosted by U.S. President Donald Trump with student survivors of school shootings, their parents and teachers in the State Dining Room at the White House February 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump is hosting the session in the wake of last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students and teachers dead. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 21: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump (R) greets Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor Jonathan Blank and his mother Melissa Blank (L) before hosting a listening session school shooting survivors, their parents, teachers and others in the State Dining Room at the White House February 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump hosted the session in the wake of last week's mass shooting at the high school in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students and teachers dead. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a listening session on gun violence with high school students, teachers and parents in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Trump promised on Wednesday to act quickly to prevent more school shootings as often-tearful, occasionally angry survivors and parents of victims poured out their frustration to him in a remarkable White House meeting. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump, right, greets Samuel Zeif, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student, at a listening session on gun violence with high school students, teachers and parents in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Trump promised on Wednesday to act quickly to prevent more school shootings as often-tearful, occasionally angry survivors and parents of victims poured out their frustration to him in a remarkable White House meeting. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US President Donald Trump listens as Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Carson Abt speaks during a listening session on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House on February 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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Last year, while touring hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, Trump downplayed the damage as not “a real catastrophe like Katrina,” told a family to “have a good time,” encouraged officials to praise him and the government’s widely criticized response to the storm and reveled in throwing paper towels to residents at a church.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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