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  • White House
President Trump, during a meeting on school safety on Wednesday.
President Trump, during a meeting on school safety on Wednesday. (Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press)

President Trump on Thursday lambasted California officials for how they are dealing with gangs and threatened to pull immigration and border agents out of the state to show just how bad things would be without federal help.

Federal agents are working to defeat gangs like MS-13, the president said, but the gang members “come in, they’re smart, they actually have franchises going to Los Angeles. No help from the state of California.”

He continued: “I mean, frankly, if I wanted to pull our people from California, you would have a crime mess like you've never seen in California.”

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President Trump met at the White House on Wednesday with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and others touched by gun violence.
President Trump met at the White House on Wednesday with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and others touched by gun violence. (Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

As President Trump has waded into gun policy in the days since the latest massacre, he appears to be consulting with members of Congress and the National Rifle Assn.

Going into a meeting on school safety with state and local officials on Thursday at the White House, Trump told reporters that he senses a broad willingness to make changes to reduce gun violence.

"I'm the biggest believer in the 2nd Amendment," he said. But Trump said he has spoken with NRA officials and, “The NRA is ready to do things. People like to blame them." 

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The NRA's Wayne LaPierre speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 22.
The NRA's Wayne LaPierre speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 22. (Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

Leaders of the National Rifle Assn. on Thursday accused supporters of gun control of exploiting the mass school shooting in Florida to promote an anti-gun agenda. 

NRA leader Wayne LaPierre spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference. He said Democrats such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy are eager to blame the NRA for the Florida shooting and are calling “for even more government control.” 

He said opponents of gun rights want to “sweep under the carpet” the failure of school safety, families “and even the unbelievable failure of the FBI” to prevent such shootings. 

Vice President Mike Pence said on Thursday that the Trump administration is making school safety the “top national priority” as it responds to the deadly mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school.

“As the president has said, no child, no teacher should ever be in danger in an American school,” Pence told the annual gathering of the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC.

Trump was meeting at the White House with state and local government officials about school safety. Pence noted that the president later this week also will talk to state governors coming to Washington for their annual winter meeting.

(Mike Groll / Associated Press)

Rep. Claudia Tenney, a Republican from New York, claimed in a radio interview Wednesday that "so many" people who commit mass murders "end up being Democrats."

Tenney, a first-term congresswoman and staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment, made the controversial remark while discussing last week's school shooting in Parkland, Fla., which left 17 people dead.

Speaking to host Fred Dicker on Albany radio station WGDJ, Tenney said she feared "a lot of these legal gun owners are going to be targeted now," even though "in their demographic, they have the least amount of crimes than virtually any other demographic."

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  • White House

President Trump began Thursday on Twitter defending the concept of arming teachers, an idea he’d floated the day before at a White House session with gun violence survivors to respond to last week’s Parkland, Fla., high school killings.

In a series of morning tweets, Trump raised the possibility of raising the minimum age for gun purchases to 21, bolstering the process of checking backgrounds of potential buyers and banning the so-called bump stocks that turn legal firearms into illegal rapid-fire ones.

But before listing those ideas, the president tweeted four times vigorously defending his proposal to extend “concealed carry” gun permits to school personnel, a proposal that was immediately criticized by teachers at the Parkland school who witnessed the killings of 17 students and adults, and Sen. Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida.

(Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

President Trump held notes while he met with students, parents and teachers at the White House on Wednesday.

The meeting on guns and schools occurred one week after 17 people were killed in a school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

Among Trump’s handwritten notes: “I hear you.” 

President Trump during Wednesday's meeting at the White House.
President Trump during Wednesday's meeting at the White House. (Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)
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Jared Kushner and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley attend a U.N. Security Council meeting Feb. 20.
Jared Kushner and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley attend a U.N. Security Council meeting Feb. 20. (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

It's a week of reckoning for White House senior advisor Jared Kushner and dozens of other officials who have been working without permanent security clearances for the better part of a year.

Those who have been operating with interim access to top-secret information since before June are set to see that access halted Friday under a new policy enacted last week by Chief of Staff John Kelly. Some officials are expected to leave their posts as a result, while others will continue working with reduced — or no — access to classified information.

The White House maintains that Kushner's work will be unaffected by the change, but won't explain why.