Donald Trump has baffled many by calling the Las Vegas massacre “in many ways, a miracle” against a backdrop of calls for stricter gun controls in the US.
The US President was hailing the quick response of the police after suspect killer Stephen Paddock opened fire on a concert venue, killing at least 59 people and injuring and more than 500. He had an arsenal of 42 weapons and explosives, police have discovered.
The deadliest mass shooting in modern US history has once again opened up the debate in America over the country’s lax gun laws, which are enshrined in the constitution.
In the immediate aftermath of the massacre, Trump addressed the nation with religious overtones - but did not mention gun control.
On his way to Puerto Rico to survey hurricane damage on Tuesday, Trump told reporters at the White House that “we’ll be talking about gun laws as time goes on”.
When asked to comment about proposed congressional legislation that would remove restrictions against using silencers, Trump said: ”We’ll talk about that later.”
Instead, he praised the first responders in Las Vegas for doing an “incredible job” and said what they accomplished amounted to a “miracle”.
“Look, we have a tragedy,” he told journalists. “What happened is, in many ways, a miracle. The police department, they’ve done such an incredible job
“But I do have to say, how quickly the police department was able to get in was really very much of a miracle. They’ve done an amazing job.”
Trump, who will travel to Las Vegas on Wednesday, also called Paddock “a sick individual”.
Police are still trying to piece together the motives of Paddock, who lived in a retirement community and was a multimillionaire real-estate investor who liked to travel to Las Vegas to play high-stakes video poker.
Critics have argued the attack should be labelled terrorism, and the focus on the attacker’s potential mental illness is a distraction.
The President said: “He’s a sick man, a demented man. A lot of problems, I guess. We are looking into him very, very seriously. But we’re dealing with a very, very sick individual.”