It's never the right time to talk about guns at the Trump White House.
On the fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting that claimed 26 lives — including 20 young children — Donald Trump didn’t bother tweeting any message of condolence or remembrance.
His silence reflects the administration’s do-nothing approach to gun violence, which White House press secretary Sarah Sanders made clear on Thursday.
Asked by a reporter at the daily briefing to detail “what President Trump has done to try to protect the American people against a similar type of massacre,” Sanders actually responded by touting tighter border security measures.
Pressed again — and reminded that the Sandy Hook shooter didn’t enter the U.S. from another country, nor did the shooters who killed nearly 100 people during the massacres in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas, this year — Sanders awkwardly conceded that the White House hasn’t done a thing to try to stop the bloodshed:
SANDERS: You have to take these matters, obviously, very seriously. But if you could name a single thing that would have prevented both of these, I would like to hear it because I don’t know what that would look like. But we’re looking every single day at how you can protect American lives, and how we can best protect American citizens.
Essentially, Sanders professed to be completely baffled as to why the U.S. has more mass shootings than any other country in the world, and then used her assertion of ignorance to justify the administration’s failure to do anything to prevent the problem.
“Five years later, Congress has done nothing — nothing — to protect our communities,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein lamented on Thursday. She’s been trying to get a bill passed that would outlaw bump stocks, a device that allows gun owners to turn semi-automatic rifles into functioning machine guns, like the ones used to kill so many Americans in Las Vegas this year.
But, as Feinstein noted, Republicans won’t even support a common sense measure like that.
The ugly truth is that over the last five years, and particularly during Trump’s first year in office, instead of trying to make Americans safer and address the raging epidemic of gun violence, Republicans have embraced the NRA’s radical agenda and are actively trying to make sure that more people have more guns in more places.
Just weeks after two horrific gun massacres, Republicans in the House pushed through a bill that would allow gun owners with concealed carry permits to carry concealed weapons outside of their home state — even in states that explicitly ban concealed weapons in public places.
“The ‘Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act,’ a top priority for the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights groups, passed 231-198,” Politico reported this month.
And earlier this year Republicans specifically repealed a regulation, adopted in response to the Sandy Hook massacre, that blocked people with certain mental disorders from purchasing firearms.
Meanwhile, an NBC News analysis published on Thursday lays bare just how severe America’s gun violence epidemic has become — and how many children suffer as a result.
Since the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in December 2012, nearly 1,000 children under the age of 12 have been shot and killed in the U.S. Of those, 317 were shot accidentally, 287 were shot by another child, and 289 were killed in murder-suicides.
By ignoring America’s raging gun violence problem, Trump is walking away from his duty to help protect the citizenry. If he wants to be “tough on crime” and put “America first,” he could start by prioritizing the safety of American children — or at least stop putting them in danger by neglecting our nation’s gun violence epidemic.