Trump had nothing to say about the latest mass shooting until the press called out his silence, and his press secretary had no excuse to offer.
It took Donald Trump over a full day to finally take to Twitter to send a message of support in the wake of Tuesday’s deadly Kentucky school shooting, where two students were killed and at least 20 more were injured after a 15-year-old student opened fire inside a common area at Marshall County High School in Benton, 200 miles southwest of Louisville.
Trump’s tweet came soon after Mike Pence offering up his own sympathies 24 hours after the fact, highlighting how little the current administration seems to care about this epidemic of deadly rampages.
Notably, Trump’s tweet was sent immediately following Wednesday’s press briefing, where press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had no valid excuse for Trump’s abominable silence.
When NBC News White House correspondent Peter Alexander asked Sanders about Trump’s lack of a response on this latest massacre, she resorted to little more than bullying and forced indignation.
“To sit there and question I’m sorry, hold on. I was polite and let you finish,” Sanders said angrily. “Let me be very clear on this: The fact that you’re basically accusing the president of being complicit in a school shooting is outrageous.”
“I’m not,” Alexander noted, going on to remind Sanders of Trump’s campaign ad which did explicitly accuse Democrats who support immigration reform of being complicit in any violent crimes, including murder, committed by undocumented immigrants. “I’m not accusing the president of anything.”
“Ignoring the fact of the safety and security of our borders is very different,” Sanders insisted, going on to offer hollow talking points about “crack[ing] down on crime.”
Notably, Sanders did all she could to avoid the deafening silence from Trump on the particular issue of frighteningly common mass shootings even knowing that this most recent massacre in Kentucky that was the 11th school shooting just this year.
“On Monday, a school cafeteria outside Dallas and a charter school parking lot in New Orleans. And before that, a school bus in Iowa, a college campus in Southern California, a high school in Seattle,” The New York Times reported following the Kentucky mass murder, recounting the other shootings this year.
“Gunfire ringing out in American schools used to be rare, and shocking.”
And Trump hasn’t said a word in public about any of them in 2018.
Just one day before the Kentucky campus gun rampage, a 15-year-old student at the local high school in Italy, Texas, was shot by a classmate.
Trump’s indifference has not gone unnoticed, especially from gun safety advocates.
“He’s beholden to the NRA. He’s doesn’t respond to these shootings because he’s trying avoid saying something that the NRA doesn’t agree with,” says Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, a group that was created in the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre in 2012.
Playing defense for his deep-pocketed contributors at the NRA, Trump has not only refused to urge action to curb gun violence in America since taking office, but refuses to even acknowledge this massive and deadly problem.
Following the shooting at the Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, which took the lives of at least 50 people and injured more than 400, making it the worst mass murder in modern American history, Trump briefly addressed the nation, but refused to mention guns. Instead, he strangely offered “warmest condolences” to the victims.
Watts notes that the lack of response from the White House sends a larger signal to the press that the shootings dont matter.
And regrettably, Tuesday’s shooting generated very little cable news coverage.
The cultural and news media trend toward normalizing gun rampages a trend driven straight from the Oval Office certainly works to the benefit of the NRA and gun manufacturers. Those organizations don’t like being scrutinized after mindless mass killings in America, and especially after mindless mass killings that unfold inside school classrooms.
But the government ought to show more courage on the crucial issue, and certainly ought to care more for victims of violence than those who manufacturer the tools of it.