In the "listening session" with shooting survivors and their families, Trump's crib note reminded him to say "I hear you."
Trump was never likely to listen to school shooting survivors and their families at his White House “listening session.” But his crib note was absurdly on the nose, with a reminder to articulate the message, “I hear you.”
The reminder came at the end of a numbered list, including points like “What would you most want me to know about your experience?” and “What can we do to make you feel safe?”
It’s a sentiment one wouldn’t think the president would need to be reminded of. But the easily bored and infamously self-obsessed Trump is no ordinary president.
His chief prescription was the unabashed NRA talking point that we should arm school faculty. Schools need “people very adept at using firearms,” he said.
Trump did not seem to know there was already an armed guard on the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, where 17 people were murdered.
He invoked coach Aaron Feis, who died shielding a student at Stoneman Douglas. If Feis had a gun in his locker, Trump said, “He wouldn’t have had to run, he would have shot him, and that would have been the end of it.”
That wasn’t the message from Samuel Zeif, an 18-year-old Parkland survivor who lost his best friend. Zeif cited Maryland’s ban on many weapons, including the AR-15, as an example.
“I don’t understand why I could still go in a store and buy a weapon of war,” Zeif said.
It is little wonder many of the most outspoken students, like Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, decided to skip the session and stick to fighting for action on CNN’s upcoming town hall later Wednesday night.
Trump failed to heed his own notes. The single most important thing he had to do at the listening session was listen. Instead, he made it clear he didn’t hear a thing.