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Sheriff McDonald joins Trump in White House school safety talk

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President Trump held a lengthy roundtable discussion on school safety on Thursday, surrounded by local and state officials, including Henderson County Sheriff Charlie McDonald.

Trump came out in support of denying assault weapon purcahses to anyone under 21 years old, said he supported allowing qualified teachers to carry concealed weapons in schools.

"The day before yesterday I got a call from Congressman Meadows office that said,"Hey can you be here in Washington on Thursday. The president wants to meet with elected offiicials and law enforcement because he's trying to get togother ideas and get something moving on this school safey issue while everybody's focused on it.' I had no idea I'd be sitting next toJeff Sessions and (Florida Attorney General) Pam Bondi and meeting Kellyanne Conway.

"I think what they're really looking at doing is to bring a lot of ideas and come up with a model that can be be used" across the country, perhaps with the help of federal grants. "I caught that there was a very serious commitment right now and in listening to (Trump) talk I got the impression that's he's commtted," he said in a phone interview from Washington.

When he got to McDonald, Trump mentioned the congressman who had recommended the Henderson County sheriff for the school safety talks.

“Congressman Meadows is a big fan of yours, that I can tell you, you know who I’m talking about,” Trump told him.

"I've been very impressedwith a lot of the ideas I’ve heard and I do think mental health is a serious issue," McDonald said. "It’s affected us across the nation. I know it is in North Carolina. I appreciatre your courage to talk about the fact that I do think there is a place for properly trained people in certain areas as well. I think multilayered securities like an onion has got a lot of facets and I believe you’ve got the courage and leadership to bring all this together. I know there’s a lot of good ideas out there but it’s going to take a lot of courage on the part of leaders of this nation to bring the community together."

Trump echoed that.

"It’s going to take a lot of political courage," he said. “Some of it won’t be politically correct.”

"My deal was that I appreciate the fact that he's got the commitment and courage to entertain some things that maybe people aren't that warm about," McDonald said later.

One of only two law enforcement officials invited and the only sheriff, McDonald said he was honored to be a part of the discussion.

"I appreciate the congressman" suggesting him for the roundtable, he said.

"I told him really him I'm not intersted in something that's just a dog and pony show and he said 'I wouldn't send you there for that.' I was very pleased with the attention it's getting."

Sheriff's Maj. Frank Stout said he did not have a lot of details about how the invitation came about but that Meadows, who is close to Trump and is a strong supporter of McDonald, had been a go-between.

"It has been a very very short-notice trip," he said. "It was very good opportunity for the sheriff to be invited to Washington."