Try as they may, the NRA and the GOP (as though they’re separate entities), continue to struggle to contain the survivors of the shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Survivors of the deadly shooting Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg told CNN’s New Day that they would not be attending Trump’s “listening session” pretty much as soon as it was proposed.
When asked about it, Gonzalez said, “I believe we’ve been invited, but neither of us are going.”
Gonzalez has emerged as an iconic figure in the wake of the tragedy, as she delivered a salient and emotional speech that immediately went viral. Instead, she and Hogg explained that they would have a prior town hall meeting with Jake Tapper.
The refusal is also a rebuke of President Trump, who conducted himself with shocking insensitivity in the wake of the shooting.
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
While Trump’s tweet appears at first-glance to be his standard fare, the tired line of ‘white domestic terrorists are simply mentally ill’ combined with placing blame on the shooter’s peers for not having reported “such instances” was met with intense criticism. Perhaps none more vociferous than that which he received Emma Gonzalez, who took Trump directly to task and informed him that the shooter was reported many, many times. She also reminded Trump that almost exactly a year prior, he had rolled back Obama-era regulations that would make it much for difficult for the mentally ill to obtain firearms.
Because he’s Trump and never resists the chance to snatch defeat from the jaws of slightly lesser defeat, Trump then twisted the situation around in such a way as to infer that the FBI must have dropped the ball on the Parkland shooter because they were too busy fiddling around with the silly Russia investigation.
Trump then posed with the first responders and nurses who tried to save fatally injured children — giving a literal thumbs-up — as if he expected some kind of medal for doing the bare minimum expected of any president: visit the scene of a national tragedy.
David Hoggs and Emma Gonzalez are not keen to pose with this president in any self-congratulatory photo-op. Period.
When Gonzalez was asked whether she had any words for the NRA in particular, she said, “Disband, dismantle … don’t make another organization under a different name. Don’t you dare come back here.”