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White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah is set to command the briefing room podium on Thursday, following a series of tweets from President Donald Trump earlier attacking the media and proposing policy solutions on gun control.
The massacre of 17 students and adults by a rifle-wielding gunman at a Florida high school last week invigorated calls for gun control from activists, survivors of the shooting and parents of the slain victims.
On Wednesday, Trump attended a listening session with the families of mass shooting victims in the White House. He asked the speakers to propose solutions on gun violence, and posited a number of his own suggestions.
Trump told the group he would be "very strong on background checks" and would consider strengthened mental health reforms. He also said if teachers were "adept at firearms" they could end the attacks "very quickly." These suggestions followed the Trump administration's recent proposal to ban so-called bump stocks, which modify semi-automatic rifles to shoot bullets more quickly.
In seven tweets on the issue of gun policy on Thursday morning, Trump strongly advocated arming "only the best" trained teachers with guns in schools.
"20% of teachers, a lot, would now be able to ... immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions," Trump tweeted. "ATTACKS WOULD END!"
Armed teachers in schools would solve the problem of school shootings "instantly," he added.
Trump tweet ...If a potential "sicko shooter" knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school. Cowards won't go there...problem solved. Must be offensive, defense alone won't work!
Deputy press secretary Shah may also be questioned on ongoing debates over immigration policy, and special counsel Robert Mueller's recent indictments of Russian nationals and a Russian oligarch's son-in-law as part of his probe into Russian malfeasance in the 2016 presidential election.
Shah's debut on the lectern came on Feb. 8, when the press official fielded questions about former White House staff secretary Rob Porter's security clearance and sudden resignation in light of reports that he abused his former wives.
In that briefing, Shah said that the Trump administration "could have done better" in its handling of Porter and his ouster.
The administration has subsequently offered contradictory explanations on various aspects of the matter, including the process by which Porter was granted an "interim security clearance," the timeline of the FBI's reports to the White House about Porter, and current Chief of Staff John Kelly's knowledge of Porter's allegedly violent background.