President Donald Trump began a trip to Texas on Thursday by meeting privately with families of some of the 10 people killed in a school shooting this month.
A White House spokesman said Trump was "moved" by the May 18 shooting at Santa Fe High School, which left eight students and two substitute teachers dead. A student faces capital murder charges in the attack.
"These events are very tragic, whenever they happen. And you know, the president wants to extend his condolences and talk about the issue of school safety," spokesman Raj Shah told Fox News Channel.
Trump, who at times has awkwardly embraced his role as the national comforter-in-chief, spent more than an hour with families and local leaders at a Coast Guard station just outside Houston. The White House did not immediately identify the people with whom Trump met or what they discussed. Reporters were not permitted to witness the meeting.
"He's the president of the United States, but he's also a father. He's also a husband, and he obviously understands what it's like, you know, to love someone and then lose someone," Shah said in the interview, adding that Trump approaches situations like these as a human being and a parent, not necessarily as a politician.
"I think he just, you know, he talks to families, he listens and he wants to learn," Shah said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, both Republicans, greeted Trump on the tarmac after he stepped off of Air Force One at a Houston military base. Abbott joined Trump for the short ride in the presidential limousine to a Coast Guard hangar where the meeting was taking place. Trump was then scheduled to attend political fundraisers and events in Houston and Dallas -- the president was already scheduled to be in Texas Thursday for the fundraisers.
A White House official did not immediately respond to requests for details about how much money was to be raised, and who was benefiting, from the fundraising events.
Our earlier story
President Donald Trump will be meeting with the families of the victims of the Santa Fe High School shooting during a visit to Texas Thursday.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders made the announcement at the White House briefing Wednesday. The announcement came after Gov. Greg Abbott released his sweeping plan to improve safety at Texas schools.
Eight students and two substitute teachers were killed during the May 18 shooting in Santa Fe, Texas.
Trump was already scheduled to be in Texas Thursday to attend political fundraisers in Houston and Dallas.
This trip comes weeks after Trump spoke at the National Rifle Association's convention in Dallas earlier this month.
KERA's Molly Evans contributed to this report.