Friday 20 July 2018

Revealed: The notes Trump brought to his White House meeting with survivors of the Florida shooting

U.S. President Donald Trump holds his prepared questions as he hosts a listening session with high school students and teachers to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump holds his prepared questions as he hosts a listening session with high school students and teachers to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Taylor Heyman

US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met with survivors and families of those killed and injured in school shootings on Wednesday afternoon, following a shooting in Florida which killed 17 people. During the meeting, Trump’s notes were snapped by photographers.

Trump held a five-point list in his hands as he took questions from the gathered students and teachers. Points one, two, four and five could be seen, and read:

“1. What would you most want me to know about your experience?

2. What can we do to help you feel safe?

(Carolyn Kaster/AP)
(Carolyn Kaster/AP)

4. Resources? Ideas?

5. I hear you.”

During the discussion held in the White House state dining room and broadcast live to Americans, the mother of a six-year-old who was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting implored Trump not to let the moment pass by for action.

“This is not difficult. These deaths are preventable,” Nicole Hockley said.

Parent Melissa Blank (L) and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting surviving students Jonathan Blank (2nd L) and Julia Cordover (2nd R) attend with other survivors and the families of victims a listening session held by U.S. President Donald Trump to discuss school safety and shootings, at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Parent Melissa Blank (L) and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting surviving students Jonathan Blank (2nd L) and Julia Cordover (2nd R) attend with other survivors and the families of victims a listening session held by U.S. President Donald Trump to discuss school safety and shootings, at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

“I implore you, consider your own children. You don’t want to be me. No parent does, and you have the ability to make a difference and save lives today. Please don’t waste this.”

Survivors of the most recent shooting in Florida also spoke at the meeting.

U.S. President Donald Trump, seated with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting surviving students Jonathan Blank (L), Julia Cordover (2nd L), and Carson Abt (R), delivers remarks during a listening session with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors and students at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump, seated with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting surviving students Jonathan Blank (L), Julia Cordover (2nd L), and Carson Abt (R), delivers remarks during a listening session with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors and students at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Samuel Zeif, whose tweets to his brother went viral after the attack, asked Trump why the sale of semi-automatic weapons like the AR15 used to attack his fellow pupils were not more tightly controlled. He also referenced Australia’s move to control gun ownership after its own school shooting in 1996.

Trump struck a conciliatory tone in the listening session, which lasted for more than an hour. However, he asked those gathered in the room how they felt about the proposal to arm teachers or other school staff and suggested sending veterans into schools with guns, saying that could “solve your problem”.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School parent Andrew Pollack, with his sons, talks about the death of his daughter Meadow as U.S. President Donald Trump hosts a listening session with school shooting survivors and students at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School parent Andrew Pollack, with his sons, talks about the death of his daughter Meadow as U.S. President Donald Trump hosts a listening session with school shooting survivors and students at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Replies were mixed, to which Trump responded: “We can understand both sides. Certainly it’s controversial, but we’ll study that along with many other ideas.”

The 45th president asked for ideas to prevent attacks in future. One young woman from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school in Florida suggested better training for teachers and students across at states in the country. Another student from the school praised Trump’s leadership and called for better dialogue between the opposing sides of the debate.

At the end of the meeting, Trump told the attendees he “grieved” for them, and thanked them for their ideas. He said his government would look strongly into age-restrictions on weapons and better mental health support.

Press Association

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