Saudi Arabia 'greatly angered' by Pensacola Navy base shooting, Trump says

Courtney Subramanian and John Fritze, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – King Salman of Saudi Arabia called President Donald Trump to express his condolences over the attack at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, the president said Friday. 

"It's a horrible thing that took place and we're getting to the bottom of it," Trump told reporters before a roundtable discussion on small business and red tape reduction. 

The suspect, a Saudi national, was training in aviation at the base, which hosts members of military from around the world, according to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. 

"Obviously, the government of Saudi Arabia needs to make things better for these victims," DeSantis said in a press conference earlier Friday. "They’re going to owe a debt here."

Trump declined to say whether the shooting was related to terrorism, but added authorities would be releasing more information in the form of a report shortly. 

“That’s all being studied now,” Trump said of the attack. “We will be talking about it very soon.”

The shooting left four people dead, including the suspect, and eight others wounded. It was the second attack at a U.S. Navy base in a week. 

The president’s remarks closely mirrored a series of tweets he posted earlier Friday in which he said he spoke with Salman about the incident. Trump wrote that the king called to offer his condolences.

“The King said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter, and that this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people,” Trump posted on Twitter.

Salman told Trump he has directed Saudi security services to fully cooperate with U.S. officials in their investigation into the attack, according to a Saudi readout of the call. 

Trump has sought to strengthen U.S. ties to Saudi Arabia throughout his presidency, despite some criticism from both parties. Some lawmakers have expressed uneasiness with the Saudi’s deadly intervention in Yemen that began in 2015.

The president also faced blowback for his response to the death of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist who was killed at the Saudi consulate in Turkey last year.

Trump has expressed his displeasure with the circumstances of Khashoggi’s death but has simultaneously noted the significance of the U.S. alliance with Riyadh.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump: King Salman said Saudi people 'angered' by Pensacola shooting