President Donald Trump met privately with victims of the Las Vegas shooting at a hospital on Wednesday after he touched down in a city still reeling from the worst gun massacre in modern US history.
Air Force One landed at the airport near the famed Las Vegas strip on a bright, sunny morning just days after a gunman on the 32nd floor of a hotel and casino opened fire on people at an outdoor country music festival below. The Sunday night rampage killed at least 59 people and injured 527, some from gunfire and some from a chaotic escape.
"It's a very sad thing. We are going to pay our respects and to see the police who have done really a fantastic job in a very short time", Trump told reporters before departing the White House. He said that authorities were "learning a lot more" about the shooter, Stephen Craig Paddock and that more details would be "announced at an appropriate time."
"It's a very, very sad day for me personally", he said.
Trump's first stop was the University Medical Center, where he was speaking privately with victims of the Sunday night shooting rampage, their families, and medical professionals. On his trip from the airport, the president's motorcade drove past the Mandalay Bay hotel where the gunman fired down into the concert crowd. The president also drove past his own Trump hotel.
Trump's trip to Las Vegas follows his travel to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, a pair of back-to-back episodes that are testing his ability to unite and lift the nation in times of strife. Trump, a leader who excels at political provocation and prides himself on commanding strength, has sometimes struggled to project empathy.
During Tuesday's trip, he highlighted Puerto Rico's relatively low death toll compared with "a real catastrophe like Katrina", when as many as 1,800 people died in 2005 as levees protecting New Orleans broke. He also pointed repeatedly to praise his administration had received for its efforts, despite criticism on the island of a sluggish response.
Trump has a long personal connection to Las Vegas, a city where his name is written in huge golden letters atop his hotel. He also campaigned extensively across Nevada during his presidential campaign, drawing large crowds to rallies along the Las Vegas strip.