Trump speaks with Saudi king after Pensacola shooting
President Trump on Friday said he spoke with King Salman of Saudi Arabia after U.S. officials said that a Saudi national was suspected of opening fire at a naval air station in Pensacola, Fla., killing three people and injuring several others.
“The King said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter, and that this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people,” Trump tweeted.
The Saudi leader expressed his condolences to the families of those killed in the shooting, Trump said.
“It’s a horrible thing that took place, and we’re getting to the bottom of it,” Trump said of the shooting during an event focused on deregulation.
The president would not say whether he believed the incident was an act of terrorism.
Officials said the gunman was a member of the Saudi Air Force, and they are investigating whether the shooting at the naval base was terrorism related. The gunman, who has not been publicly identified, was killed by law enforcement responding to the scene.
The base’s commanding officer said the suspect was training in aviation.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who represents Pensacola, said in a video posted on social media that U.S. allies around the world often go to the base to train, but said Friday’s incident demonstrates a “serious failure in the vetting process.”
The Pensacola shooting was the second fatal incident at a Naval base this week. A U.S. sailor killed two shipyard workers on Wednesday before killing himself.
Trump has had a complicated relationship with Saudi Arabia. He came under bipartisan criticism last year for his response to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The president echoed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s denials of involvement in Khashoggi’s death and argued the economic relationship between the two countries was critical. The Trump administration ultimately sanctioned several individuals involved in the murder, but did not target the crown prince.
The CIA later concluded the crown prince likely ordered Khashoggi’s killing.
Morgan Chalfant contributed.