As ever, in the case of a white male domestic terrorist, President Trump has engaged in hand-wringing about mental illness. When this president takes that tired approach, it is all the more cringeworthy because one of his earliest legislative actions was to rollback a regulation that would have made it far more difficult for people with a known mental illness to buy guns.
Almost a year ago, on Feb. 28th 2017, Trump signed H.J. Res. 40, which ended the Social Security Administration’s requirement to enter the names of people who receive benefits for mental health reasons into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
The NICBCS This is the database used by the FBI to determine who is able to purchase firearms. Despite this and Trump’s best attempts to further gut mental health accessibility, he had the unmitigated audacity to tweet this in immediate response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.
So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2018
President Trump was immediately taken to task for the tweet, both because of the hypocrisy and also because the tone of the tweet infers that the Parkland shooter had not been reported to authorities again and again. Following the natural trajectory of that, he has effectively blamed the shooter’s peers — the shooter’s victims.
But Trump was wrong. The Parkland shooter was reported many times.
No one made a finer, more passionate argument against the president’s tweet than Emma Gonzalez.