MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
And President Trump was here today meeting with first responders and survivors of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith is traveling with the president, and she's with us now. Hey, Tam.
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Hi, Mary Louise.
KELLY: So President Trump has at times, I think it's fair to say, struggled to find the right tone, to strike the right tone following tragedies and disasters. Charlottesville, Hurricane Maria come to mind. How did today go?
KEITH: President Trump praised first responders. He met behind closed doors. We didn't see him meeting at the hospital with patients, obviously, but he came out of that meeting and talked of the heroism that he saw and the spirit that he saw in the people there. And we, at one point, asked him what the message was that he had for the survivors that he spoke to, and this is what he said.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, I think the only message I can say is that we're with you 100 percent. We are - in fact, I invited a lot of them over to the White House. I said, if you're ever in Washington, come on over to the Oval Office. And they're all saying, we want to do it. How do we do it? And believe me, I'll be there for them. But the message that I have is we have a great country, and we are there for you. And they're there for us.
KELLY: OK. So President Trump there. How does this compare to how he handled another difficult trip, the one just yesterday down to Puerto Rico? He was tossing out paper towels, handing out provisions to people there, and he was talking about how he felt like there was a lot of love in the room. Today, it sounds like it felt more somber.
KEITH: Yeah, very much so. Today was much more somber, though he had a lot of encouragement for the first responders, said that the whole world was watching them, that they were - that people were proud of them. It wasn't the same sort of cheerleading that he did yesterday. You know, today, President Trump didn't as much make it about him as he had the day before. This was very much focused on the victims, the survivors, their families and especially the first responders and medical personnel.
KELLY: So this was President Trump very much on script and acting presidential as he went around meeting survivors, families who suffered in this tragedy.
KEITH: Yes. And he was reading from prepared remarks in his final stop of the day at a police command center, which had been sort of the center of the response to the tragedy. And he used evocative language in those remarks, offering the support of the American people for those who have been affected by this.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
TRUMP: We stand together to help you carry your pain. You're not alone. We will never leave your side.
KEITH: And then when he was done speaking, he went around and shook hands and offered some comfort to those who were there. And as we were leaving the room, I saw several people in law enforcement uniforms with tears in their eyes.
KELLY: That's NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith. Tam, thanks so much.
KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.