Thursday, February 15, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He made announcements on gun violence without using the word "gun."

Trump, who made no public acknowledgement yesterday of the mass murder of 17 children and teachers in Florida, addressed the issue in a tweet and a brief statement today--sort of.

The tweet seemed to put responsibility for the shooter's actions on "neighbors and classmates" who "knew he was a big problem." Trump then admonished them that they "must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!"

In fact, classmates and others who knew Nikolas Cruz--and even strangers on the internet--had repeatedly reported his behavior to authorities, which led to his expulsion from the school that he then attacked. 

Trump's televised address, which he read carefully from a prompter, lasted a bit under two minutes. Except for a single reference to "gunfire," Trump did not mention firearms at all in the announcement, which remains the White House's only statement on the murder. But, as in the tweet, Trump did stress the need to "tackle the difficult issue of mental health."

A few weeks after taking office in 2017, Trump signed into law an act that repealed an Obama administration regulation that made it harder for people with mental illnesses to buy guns.

Why is this a problem?

  • There are many valid positions a president might take on the subject of guns, but pretending they don't exist isn't one of them.