Almost a week after suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz fatally shot 17 people in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, President Donald Trump met with the survivors and family members affected by the horrific tragedy during a listening session held at the White House.
The emotional event not only included the students from the Parkland school but also the parents who lost their kids in other school shootings – including the Columbine and Sandy Hook massacres. The objective of the meeting was simple: getting the survivors in the same room as the commander-in-chief so they can discuss how to protect schoolchildren from gun violence.
The session had several eye-watering moments as teenagers recalled the horror they witnessed and parents called for stricter gun control as the president listened. However, somewhere along the way, a staffer reportedly handed Trump a note with list of talking points and social niceties.
Close-up shots of the card revealed some rather astonishing details.
Here are the pointers written on it:
- What would you most want me to know about your experience?
- What can we do to make you feel safe?
- Do you… see something… effective?
- Resources? Ideas?
And most importantly,
- I hear you.
Yes, the commander-in-chief who received millions of dollars in campaign donations from the National Rifle Association (NRA) wrote a reminder to himself to be empathetic towards the teenagers who survived one of the deadliest school massacres in modern U.S. history and the parents who lost their children to the nonsensical violence.
Honestly, does Trump also take cue cards to funerals so he would remember to offer condolences to the bereaved or take cliff notes to birthday parties so he won’t forget to say “Happy Birthday” to the person cutting the cake?
Why would anyone, much less a president, need a reminder to be kind to his citizens in a time of such tragedy?
Now, the former reality TV star did not appear to have used those exact words while speaking to the survivors and family members, but he did say some thing along the lines of what was written on the card he was holding.
“We're fighting hard for you and we will not stop. I just grieve for you, I feel so – to me, there could be nothing worse than what you've gone through,” he said. “Thank you for pouring out your hearts because the world is watching and we're going to come up with a solution.”
Trump’s lack of empathy was pretty visible when he told the survivors he was considering arming teachers to prevent such incidents from taking place – because according to him and his NRA-funded cronies, the answer to gun violence is introducing even more guns.
“If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly,” he said.
What Trump and his equally incompetent administration fail to understand is that more guns are not the solution. Secondly, school teachers, many of whom are underpaid and overworked, should not be held responsible for solving the gun pandemic in the country.
Meanwhile, social media users had a lot to say about Trump’s cue card.
At Trump's "Listening Sesson" today....— Ron Sexsmith (@RonSexsmith) February 21, 2018
For him to have to write down "I hear you" as one of his notes
is kind of troubling. RS
Oh gawd: Trump had a 3 point cheat sheet for gun control meeting - 3rd point: “I hear you.”— Amy Siskind (@Amy_Siskind) February 21, 2018
Reminder: have empathy. https://t.co/G9xSvNBdZd
A White House staffer passed Trump notes on how to feel empathy during his listening session. #ParklandStudentsSpeak— William LeGate (@williamlegate) February 21, 2018
"I hear you."
"What would you most want me to know about your experience?
"What can we do to help you feel better?" pic.twitter.com/YV1M8lYSYA
Empathy checklist. https://t.co/HWVi2hDUbr— Dan Zak (@MrDanZak) February 21, 2018
They aren't even his own thoughts. It's obviously not his handwriting. Someone in the WH had to write the notes for him.— SRVOTER (@Mr_B_2014) February 21, 2018
Thumbnail : Reuters, Jonathan Ernst
Banner : Reuters, Jonathan Ernst