President Donald Trump couldn’t resist going to the national convention of the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Dallas on Friday to soak up adulation from the adoring crowd of 80,000 gun lovers. He gave a speech that succeeded in stirring up the crowd by stressing that the unfettered right to own weapons was more important than protecting the lives of children or keeping Americans safe from gun violence.
Student survivors of the Parkland school shooting on Valentine’s Day were not so happy with the president’s performance, however. David Hogg, Jaclyn Corin and Emma Gonzalez all took to Twitter to express their displeasure, and Cameron Kasky appeared on CNN, calling the president “a professional liar.”
On the CNN show “New Day” Kasky had this to say about Donald Trump:
“He’s a professional liar who will say anything to appease whatever crowd he’s at. If he’s in front of families he might say something in support of common-sense gun reform, but then when he’s at the NRA he’ll say something to get a big cheer.”
On Twitter, Hogg gave his view that the NRA was scared.
“The NRA is scared- that’s why they brought out the President and the VP for the first time to their convention. The young people will win. #USAoverNRA“
The NRA is scared- that's why they brought out the President and the VP for the first time to their convention.
The young people will win. #USAoverNRA
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) May 4, 2018
For her part, Corin criticized NRA executive Wayne LaPierre’s speech where he claimed the NRA was in the “majority.” She tweeted: “You have 5 million members in a country with 325+ million citizens. You are not the majority.”
You have 5 million members in a country with 325+ million citizens. You are not the majority. https://t.co/ZGSKP0GMdW
— Jaclyn Corin (@JaclynCorin) May 4, 2018
Emma Gonzalez, with 1.6 million Twitter followers, retweeted a comment from astronaut Mark Kelly, who wrote, “The NRA used to believe in reasonable gun laws to keep people safe. But today, NRA leaders speak more for the gun industry than they do for gun owners, and they do so at the expense of public safety.”
The NRA used to believe in reasonable gun laws to keep people safe. But today, NRA leaders speak more for the gun industry than they do for gun owners, and they do so at the expense of public safety. pic.twitter.com/Sgfyum0IQs
— Mark Kelly (@ShuttleCDRKelly) May 4, 2018
Kelly’s sister-in-law Gabby Giffords was herself a victim of gun violence when she was serving in the U.S. House of Representatives.
After the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Trump said that he would be open to new laws on gun control and would “take on” the NRA. He even suggested that Republican Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.) was afraid of the NRA.
This gave many gun control advocates, including young people, hope that there would be meaningful change in attempts to prevent further school massacres. Trump’s trip to the NRA convention therefore was a real letdown for all of these people.
Kasky on Saturday also elaborated on a tweet he posted earlier this week mocking the NRA over the Secret Service’s decision to ban firearms during Trump and Vice President Mike Pence’s speeches at the meeting.
The NRA has evolved into such a hilarious parody of itself. pic.twitter.com/6Pw6NTQAe6
— Cameron Kasky (@cameron_kasky) April 28, 2018
“You’d think that if someone supported the NRA, they’d want as many ‘good guys with guns’ in the room as possible, right?” Kasky said. “The hypocrisy is so blatant here and they’re just embracing it at this point.”
Trump and the NRA think they are off the hook and that people will forget about the need for rational gun laws in the United States. However, the courageous young people from Parkland, Florida have made clear that they have not forgotten the promises made or the crisis we are in that necessitates real change before more there are more mass murders.