President Donald Trump delivered an appalling insult to the families of victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting on the fifth anniversary of the massacre.
Far from offering condolence message to the parents, who still feel the loss of their little ones, Trump slapped them in the face by inviting the NRA’s executive vice president Wayne LaPierre to the White House Christmas party on Dec. 14.
The NRA executive posed for a photo with Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who posted it on Facebook.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also confirmed LaPierre had attended the event though said she could not confirm whether the president has spoken to him. LaPierre and the NRA endorsed Trump during the 2017 election campaign.
In the wake of the rampage, which took 27 lives, including those of 20 young children, the NRA executive spread lies about the emergency response. While politicians and even President Barack Obama called for increased gun control in the aftermath of the shooting, LaPierre tried to cash in on the tragedy by urging school staff to arm themselves instead and notoriously said, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
At that time, parents of the victims were shocked and dismayed by LaPierre’s response. This time around, the victims’ families were outraged that Trump would invite such a person to a White House party on the tragedy’s anniversary.
Nicole Hockley, whose 6-year-old son Dylan was one of the fatalities, wrote a blistering note of condemnation to the Trump administration on Facebook.
“December 14th marked five years since my six-year-old son, Dylan, was murdered in his first grade classroom alongside 19 of his classmates and 6 educators,” she wrote. “Not only did [Trump] ignore the 5-year remembrance completely — not even a single tweet — he slapped us all in the face by having none other than NRA President Wayne LaPierre at his White House Christmas party that night. The appalling lack of humanity and decency has not gone unnoticed.”
“While they ignorantly partied and remained uninformed on an issue that kills thousands of Americans every year, I was crying myself to sleep,” Hockley continued. “While they got the chance to kiss their children goodnight, I kissed the urn holding my beautiful boy’s ashes.”
“I would request an apology. But I’m not sure there are any hearts in the White House that would understand why an apology is the least they could do,” she added.
Trump’s callous indifference to the horrific tragedy came on the same day as press secretary Sanders’ announcement that nothing could be done to battle America’s gun violence epidemic.
“If you could name a single thing that would have prevented both of these [Sandy Hook and Las Vegas massacres], I would like to hear it because I don’t know what that would look like,” Sanders added.
Hockley, who is now the co-founder of a gun violence prevention group Sandy Hook Promise, said Sanders showed a “remarkable amount of ignorance.”
“I will happily go the White House and train the administration on regulations like Extreme Risk Protections Orders (ERPOs) and Threat Assessment, both of which could have prevented the Sandy Hook tragedy,” she wrote. “I’d also love to train the White House on recognizing the signs of someone who is at risk of hurting themselves or others, or even about how to store a gun safely and responsibly. Both of these contributed to the Sandy Hook tragedy.”
“Whenever anyone says it’s too soon to talk about gun violence, they’re wrong. It’s too late. It’s too late for us,” she told Yahoo in an interview.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: REUTERS, Adrees Latif