A top official in Florida’s Broward County slammed President Donald Trump as a ‘hypocrite’ for saying he would visit the families of the victims of Wednesday’s horrific school shooting.
‘Him coming here is absolutely absurd, and he’s a hypocrite,’ Broward County Vice Mayor Mark Bogen, a Democrat, told CNN.
‘How can you come here and talk about how horrible it is when you support these laws?
‘This is a man who supports teenagers and other people [being able to] to purchase assault weapons … and then comes down here and wants to act as though this is horrible and shouldn’t happen, but goes back to Washington and supports it,’ Bogen said.
President Trump says he’ll be visiting Parkland during his three-day holiday in Florida with Melania. He is seen here addressing the tragedy from the Diplomatic Room of the White House on Thursday
White House officials had not confirmed a stop in Parkland, which is just 40 miles south of Palm Beach, as of Friday afternoon
‘Him coming here is absolutely absurd, and he’s a hypocrite,’ Broward County Vice Mayor Mark Bogen (Pictured) , a Democrat, told CNN
‘It is hypocrisy, it is absolute hypocrisy,’ he said.
President Trump says he’ll be visiting Parkland during his three-day holiday in Florida with Melania.
The president and first lady are departing Washington this afternoon for Palm Beach on a previously scheduled weekend getaway.
In a tweet this morning, the president said he would also be stopping through the Florida community that was rocked this week by a high school shooting.
‘I will be leaving for Florida today to meet with some of the bravest people on earth – but people whose lives have been totally shattered. Am also working with Congress on many fronts,’ he said.
White House officials had not confirmed a side trip to Parkland, which is just 40 miles south of Palm Beach, as of Friday afternoon.
‘The details of a trip have not been set just yet,’ deputy press secretary Raj Shah told Fox News.
Officials were working to set up meetings between Trump and first responders to the Wednesday tragedy as well as families of the victims.
Trump in a Thursday address pinned the blame for the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on the ‘the difficult issue of mental health.’
He said he issue would be a priority during a summit later this month with governor’s and attorney generals as he pressed for a culture in the country where classmates and colleagues are regarded as friends and neighbors.
‘It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference,’ he said. ‘We must actually make that difference.’
The president made no mention of gun control, or of the AR-15 rifle that Nikolas Cruz used to mow down dozens of students and teachers, including at least 17 who lost their lives.
And he did not call on Congress to take new actions to address gun violence in any way.
‘President Trump, you say what can you do? You can stop the guns from getting into these children’s hands,’ heartbroken mom Lori Alhadeff said Thursday in an emotional interview with HLN. ‘What can you do? You can do a lot! This is not fair to our families and our children [to] go to school and have to get killed!’
Alhadeff’s daughter Alyssa is being memorialized today with a funeral at Star of David Memorial Gardens in Parkland.
Mourners arrive for the funeral of Alyssa Alhadeff at the Garden of Aaron at Star of David Memorial Gardens on Friday in Parkland, Florida. Alhadeff was one of 17 people killed in the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
A sign is seen at the corner of Holberg Road and Pine Island Road, across the street from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland
A woman wipes away her tears as she arrives before a funeral service for Alyssa Alhadeff on Friday
White crosses are seen in a field at Pine Trails Park in Parkland,today to memorialize the 17 people killed Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
Trump in a Thursday address pinned the blame for the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on the ‘the difficult issue of mental health.’ Heartbroken mom Lori Alhadeff replied, ‘President Trump, you say what can you do? You can stop the guns from getting into these children’s hands’
Sarah Chadwick, a student at the school, also demanded action from the president in response to a Wednesday tweet that had offered his ‘prayers and condolences to the families of the victims.’
‘I don’t want your condolences you f***ing price of s***, my friends and teachers were shot. Multiple of my fellow classmates are dead. Do something instead of sending prayers. Prayers won’t fix this. But Gun control will prevent it from happening again,’ she said in a tweet that was preserved by Florida Today.
Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat who represents Connecticut and has been a vocal advocate of stricter gun control measures since a deranged gunman shot and killed 20 small children in Newtown, said Wednesday on the Senate floor that the ‘epidemic of mass slaughter, the scourge of school shooting after school shooting’ only happens in America.
‘It only happens here not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our inaction,’ he said.
Cruz bought the firearm legally at a gun shop in February 2017.
Trump said this morning that he working with Congress on ‘many fronts,’ but the White House had not made a public push for mental health or firearms legislation as of Friday afternoon.
Linda Barrio prays Friday morning at a memorial at Pine Trails Park in Parkland for the 17 people killed Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
This video screen grab image shows shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz on February 15 at Broward County Jail in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The heavily armed teenager who gunned down students and adults at a Florida high school was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder
This shocking picture was posted on Cruz’s Instagram account, showing a collection of at least seven different firearms
The White House’s televised briefings have also been nixed in the days since the shooting, and reporters were chastised for bringing up the massacre during a Thursday call on immigration.
Trump, in his only public appearance since the shooting, said the entire nation is grieving for the Parkland, Florida, community that is ‘now in shock and pain and searching for answers.’
‘Our administration is working closely with local authorities to investigate the shooting and learn everything we can,’ he said. ‘We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools, and tackle the difficult issue of mental health.’
The president is scheduled to spend the weekend at Mar-a-Lago, his private resort club that sits just 40 miles north of Parkland.
‘I’m making plans to visit Parkland to meet with families and local officials, and to continue coordinating the federal response,’ Trump said Thursday.
He ignored questions from an agitated pool of reporters, including one who yelled, ‘Mr. President, why does this keep happening in America? Will you do something about guns?’
Lawmakers and activists erupted on Twitter that Trump hadn’t used the words ‘gun,’ ‘rifle,’ weapon’ or ‘firearm’ in his speech.
Democratic state Rep. Bob Lion of Connecticut tweeted: ‘Trump’s comments on Parkland made NO mention of guns.’
‘Donald Trump didn’t have a single word for the 96 Americans killed by guns every day. 30,000-40,000 dead every year,’ wrote U.S. Rep. Don Beyer, a Virginia Democrat. ‘No plan. No strategy. Not even a mention. Just the same thing we know to expect in response to gun violence: silence.’
Congressman Bob Brady, a Pennsylvania Democrat, tweeted: ‘To say that my thoughts and prayers are with the victims of yet another tragic shooting is not enough. It is clear today, after the eighth deadly school shooting in 2018, that we are failing our nation’s children. We must make a change.’
‘I am ashamed to be a member of the US House of Representatives on a day when we have yet another school massacre,’ he added. ‘I’m disgusted and embarrassed that we can’t protect our children. It’s a total disgrace.’
Democratic lawmakers like Connecticut’s Bob Lion and U.S. Rep. Don Beyer were outraged that Trump didn’t talk about guns in his speech
Gail Seeram, an immigration attorney, tweeted that ‘children must be 21 for legal access to alcohol – why are guns sold to 18 year old[s]?’
‘Trump blames school safety & mental health for #FloridaSchoolShooting but no mention of SENSIBLE GUN CONTROL & money to Republicans by NRA to avoid sensible gun control,’ she added.
Liberal New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof complained that Trump sometimes ‘mentions the gunning down of Congressional baseball players. But no mention of tackling gun safety systematically.’
Instead of calling for a national conversation about how to reconcile gun rights with public safety, Trump addressed the nation’s children ‘who feel alone, lost, confused or even scared.’
‘I want you to know that you are never alone and you never will be. You have people who care about you, who love you, and will do anything at all to protect you.’
‘If you need help,’ he said, ‘turn to a teacher, a family member, a local police office or a faith leader.’
‘Answer hatred with love. Answer cruelty with kindness.’
The president tweeted his condolences – and this plea for people to tell law enforcement when they see dangerous behavior that might signal a future attack
Florida Gov. Rick Scott did mention firearms in his remarks at a press conference Thursday, saying alongside law enforcement leaders that it was time ‘to have a real conversation about how do we make sure parents who know their children are safe, and that individuals with mental illness don’t touch guns.’
‘We need to have a real conversation so we have public safety in this state,’ he said.
Trump earlier tweeted his condolences, a pledge to assist Scott and his frustration with ‘neighbors and classmates’ of Cruz who failed to alert authorities about the 19-year-old’s erratic and foreboding behavior.
‘No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school,’ the president wrote barely more than an hour after the massacre.
In a more pointed message 15 hours later, Trump tweeted that there were ‘[s]o 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!’
Attorney General Jeff Sessions pledged on Thursday to do more to help American communities to prevent gun violence.
‘It cannot be denied that something dangerous and unhealthy is happening, and we are once again, watching the images of our children – terrified – streaming from their school with their hands above their heads,’ Sessions told the Major County Sheriffs Association.
He also told the sheriffs to encourage their communities to be on the lookout for tell-tale signs of future school shootings.
‘It is too often the case that the perpetrators of these terrible attacks had given of signals in advance. You are experienced professionals. You and I know that we cannot arrest everybody that somebody thinks is dangerous. But I think we can and must do better,’ he said.
The president’s Mar-a-Lago resort club is just 40 miles away from the scene of the massacre, and he’s expected to be there all weekend
America’s long-running debate about firearm ownership, which is legally permitted on a scale seen nowhere else in the world, may have taken a turn this week, at least with respect to the kind of weapon the murderous Cruz used on Wednesday.
His gun of choice, the AR-15, has been used in some of the nation’s worst mass-shootings.
Killers wielding AR-15 and AR-15 style weapons committed mass murder in Las Vegas, Nevada; Newtown, Connecticut; Aurora, Colorado; Orlando, Florida; San Bernardino, California; and Sutherland Springs, Texas.
South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, who is not running for re-election, told Fox News on Thursday morning that ‘I don’t know anyone who would not pass a bill today that would prevent the next mass shooting.’
But first ‘you have to find out how he accessed the gun.’
‘You got to find out whether there was a data point at some point in his background where someone could have reported it. Whether or not he accessed the gun legally or illegally,’ Gowdy cautioned.
The Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees Americans the ‘right to bear arms,’ but courts have ruled that governments can restrict that right when genuine and emergent public safety concerns can be shown to take priority.