Students who survived the Parkland, Florida, shooting laid into President Donald Trump after he linked the FBI’s failure to follow up on a report about the school shooter and the resources expended on the Russia investigation.
On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign - there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!”
The President’s tweet caused considerable outrage online, including among apparent survivors of the shooting:
“17 of my classmates are gone. That’s 17 futures, 17 children, and 17 friends stolen. But you’re right, it always has to be about you. How silly of me to forget. #neveragain”
“17 innocent people were brutally murdered at my school, a place where they should have felt safe. Their lives were gone in an instant. You are the President of the United States and you have the audacity to put this on Russia as an excuse. I guess I should expect that from you.”
“…my friends were brutally murdered and you have the nerve to make this about Russia. I can not believe this”
“Oh my god. 17 OF MY CLASSMATES AND FRIENDS ARE GONE AND YOU HAVE THE AUDACITY TO MAKE THIS ABOUT RUSSIA???!! HAVE A DAMN HEART. You can keep all of your fake and meaningless ‘thoughts and prayers’.”
Several of the student’s responses went viral, getting thousands of retweets. As of this writing, one of them had been retweeted more times than the President’s original message.
Many students who survived the Parkland shooting have been vocal about what they experienced, and about the action they want to see from those in power.
Alex Wind, a survivor, told CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield that he did not plan to attend a listening session Trump has scheduled on Wednesday with high school students and teachers, and that the President needed to reach out to the students.
“If Donald Trump wants to listen to us, he should have taken the first invitation,” Wind said. “We are not going to come to him. He is going to need to come to us.”
Emma Gonzalez, speaking in the same interview, said she suspected his scheduled listening session could be a sign Trump does not want to face outraged victims of the shooting.
“The fact that he has organized this just proves that he’s scared of us and that he doesn’t want to have to face us,” Gonzalez said.
Trump on Friday visited a Florida hospital where many of the victims were treated, as well as the sheriff’s office.
David Hogg, one of the students, spoke on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and issued an angry and passionate call for Trump to take action on the issue.
“You’re the President,” Hogg said. “You’re supposed to bring this nation together, not divide us. How dare you? Children are dying, and their blood is on your hands because of that. Please take action. Stop going on vacation in Mar-a-Lago. Take action. Work with Congress. Your party controls both the House and Senate. Take action, get some bills passed, and for God’s sake, let’s save some lives.”