Donald Trump is struggling to prove to survivors of mass shootings he has more to offer than talking points. So, he brought actual talking points to a meeting with survivors of the Parkland school shooting.
During the Wednesday listening session with survivors, Trump held a note with five bullet points, including "What can we do to help you feel safe?" and "Resources? Ideas?" followed by "I hear you."
President Donald Trump holds notes during a White House listening session with students and parents affected by school shootings. (AP Photo by Carolyn Kaster) pic.twitter.com/Z0lZbSVaoF
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) February 21, 2018
Among the emotional pleas he claims to have heard is one from Andrew Pollack who lost his daughter in the shooting. "It should have been one school shooting, and we should have fixed it," he exclaimed, "I'm pissed! My daughter — I'm not going to see again! She's not here." Pollack told Trump there should be more school safety measures.
Samuel Zeif, a student Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who lost his friend at the massacre, cried as he told Trump, "I'm here to use my voice because I know he can't." He also asked the president, who has accepted millions of dollars of donations from the National Rifle Association, "How have we not stopped this after Columbine? After Sandy Hook? I'm sitting here with a mother who lost her son. How is this still happening?" Zeif questioned why he, who was the same age as the shooter, could buy an AR-15, which he called a "weapon of war."
Meanwhile the internet had a lot to say about Trump's notes.
Trump brought cliff notes to the gun violence listening session. Final note “I hear you” pic.twitter.com/AQZAXIkFep
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) February 21, 2018
Note that Trump didn’t say “I hear you” or the other talking points someone wrote for him on a White House notecard. He said, “I just grieve for you,” and “nothing worse” and other sentiments. https://t.co/8j0jE99Gxp
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) February 21, 2018
To the Trump apologists comparing “I hear you” note to Presidential Speech notes, let me explain the difference.
“to love an cherish from this day forward” = OK to write down
“Smile & nod while she’s talking, maybe cry a little” = not OK, basic human behavior
— surRealEDdoc (@realEDdoc) February 22, 2018
Trump's note reminds himself to pretend to show compassion. https://t.co/8veCp3wHht
— Marwa Balkar (@MarwaBalkar) February 22, 2018
Student: We want universal background checks and stricter regulations.
Another student: Also important to outlaw semi-automatic weapons and recoil tools that make guns perform like automatic weapons.
Trump: I hear you. I am going to eliminate gun-free zones and arm teachers
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) February 21, 2018
Whether or not Trump will follow his notes is unclear.