Florida school shooting survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida have proven unafraid to speak their minds following a mass shooting that left 17 dead and 13 injured. In phone calls with hospitalized survivors, Trump is apparently not making the greatest impression while offering sympathy and well-wishes for their recovery.
If Trump thought his phone call with pregnant Gold Star widow Myeshia Johnson earned him some sharp criticism, he’s going to be furious when he hears the critique of his ability to express empathy from young Samantha Fuentes.
‘Samantha Fuentes, who was shot in both legs during the Parkland assault, said she had felt no reassurance during a phone call from the president to her hospital room last week.
‘“He said he heard that I was a big fan of his, and then he said, ‘I’m a big fan of yours too.’ I’m pretty sure he made that up,” she said in an interview after being discharged from the hospital. “Talking to the president, I’ve never been so unimpressed by a person in my life. He didn’t make me feel better in the slightest.”
‘Ms. Fuentes, who was left with a piece of shrapnel lodged behind her right eye, said Mr. Trump had called the gunman a “sick puppy” and said “‘oh boy, oh boy, oh boy,’ like, seven times.”’
Other high school students who attended Trump’s “listening session” following the shooting were also unimpressed, especially considering his need for notes to remind him to say “I hear you.”
‘Colleagues said Mr. Trump’s notes on Wednesday were written by Hope Hicks, his communications director and longtime aide, who had briefed the president along with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the press secretary, before he attended the session.
‘The president’s aides had been well aware that he might confront an emotional and potentially volatile situation when he sat down with grief-stricken parents and students, as well as others who had been living with loss for years or even decades. They decided to allow news cameras to capture the entire session anyway.’
During that listening session, students and parents were equally unimpressed with Trump’s proposed solutions, including arming teachers and paying out bonuses to teachers who carry firearms to class. The NRA may have cheered Trump’s pitch to sell more guns, but most were horrified by the suggestion. Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, spoke out to USA Today to give her thoughts about that solution.
‘We need solutions that will keep guns out of the hands of those who want to use them to massacre innocent children and educators. Arming teachers does nothing to prevent that.’
“I want my schools protected just like I want my banks protected,” the president said.
1)Banks hire guards. They don’t arm their tellers.
2) Schools aren’t banks.
3) This always is the gun industry’s answer: More guns.
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) February 22, 2018
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten condemns Pres. Trump's suggestion to arm teachers: "Teachers and students need schools to be safe sanctuaries for teaching and learning. They don't need armed fortresses." https://t.co/H84eaEoyKH https://t.co/wpdBDFi1js
— CNN (@CNN) February 23, 2018
It seems student survivors agree with the educators that Trump is not handling this crisis very well, and they don’t intend to be silent while the president does nothing.
Featured image via Getty/Joe Raedle