Shooting survivors lash out at Trump
Students who escaped the deadly school shooting in Florida focused their anger Sunday at President Donald Trump, contending that his response to the attack has been needlessly divisive.
“You’re the president. You’re supposed to bring this nation together, not divide us,” said David Hogg, a 17-year-old student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“How dare you,” he added.
Hogg was responding to Trump’s tweet Saturday that Democrats hadn’t passed any gun control measures during the brief time they controlled Congress with a supermajority in the Senate. Trump also alluded to the FBI’s failure to act on tips that the suspect was dangerous, while bemoaning the bureau’s focus on Russia’s role in the 2016 election.
Trump was at his Florida estate Sunday but did not mention the attack in a series of tweets. After more than a day of criticism from the students, the White House said the president would have a “listening session” with unspecified students Wednesday and meet with state and local security officials Thursday.
Florida politicians, meanwhile, scrambled to produce legislation in response to the Feb. 14 attack that killed 17 people. Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old who had been expelled from the school, is being held without bail in the Broward County Jail, accused of 17 counts of first-degree murder.
In a TV interview, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio embraced a Democratic bill in the Florida Legislature to allow courts to temporarily prevent people from having guns if they are determined to be a threat to themselves or others.
Gov. Rick Scott, also a Republican, attended a prayer vigil at the First Church Coral Springs, a few blocks from the shooting site. He is expected to announce a legislative package with GOP leaders of the Legislature this week.
Emma Gonzalez, another student who survived the attack, cited Trump, Rubio and Scott by name in a warning to politicians who are supported by the National Rifle Association.
“Now is the time to get on the right side of this, because this is not something that we are going to let sweep under the carpet,” she said on “Meet the Press.”
The students’ pointed comments are the latest signs of increased pressure for gun control after the massacre.
The students have vowed to become the face of a movement for tighter firearm regulations and plan to visit the state capitol in Tallahassee this week to demand immediate action. They are also calling for anti-gun-violence demonstrations in Washington and other cities March 24.