As gun violence survivors and others demand stricter gun control laws in wake of Wednesday’s mass shooting at a Florida high school, President Donald Trump has found a scapegoat to blame for the lack of reform: the Democrats.
In a tweet on Saturday night, Trump questioned why Democratic lawmakers had not passed “gun control legislation when they had both the House & Senate” during Barack Obama’s presidential tenure. They “didn’t want to,” Trump claimed, “and now they just talk!”
Trump’s tweet was posted hours after hundreds of gun violence survivors and activists attended a gun control rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed Wednesday in a shooting rampage, were also in attendance.
Protesters chanted “shame on you,” in reference to lawmakers and Trump, who they said have done little to help reduce gun violence in the U.S.
In a powerful speech, Emma Gonzalez, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, excoriated Trump for accepting millions from the National Rifle Association.
“If the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and ... how nothing is going to be done about it, I’m going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association,” the 18-year-old said. “It doesn’t matter because I already know. Thirty million dollars. And divided by the number of gunshot victims in the United States in the one and a half months in 2018 alone, that comes out to $5,800. Is that how much these people are worth to you, Trump?”
“To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA, shame on you,” Gonzalez continued.
The NRA reportedly spent $11.4 million supporting Trump in the 2016 presidential campaign and almost $20 million to undermine Hillary Clinton.
Trump told NRA members at a convention last year that they had a “true friend in the White House.”
“To the NRA, I can proudly say I will never, ever let you down,” he said, vowing to “never, ever infringe” on the right of people to own guns.
Trump also signed a bill last year repealing an Obama-era measure that aimed to make it more difficult for people with certain mental illnesses to buy firearms.