Survivors of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are slamming President Donald Trump after he suggested on Twitter that the FBI missed a tip about school shooter Nikolas Cruz because the agency was too busy investigating ties between Russia and his presidential campaign.
“Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable,” Trump tweeted at 8:08 p.m. Saturday. “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!”
Trump, who flew into South Florida Friday and visited victims of the shooting in the hospital, sent out the message from his Palm Beach retreat at Mar-a-Lago.
His tweet followed an admission by the FBI on Friday that the agency failed to follow up on a January tip that Cruz was dangerous, armed and thinking about shooting up a school. Also Friday, FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller unsealed an indictment of 13 Russian nationals who are accused of stealing bank accounts and credit card information in order to help fund and organize Trump campaign rallies in Miami and across the country.
After Trump’s tweet Saturday night, he was ripped by students and teachers from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, where 17 were killed and 15 more wounded Wednesday by a former student who reportedly shot roughly 150 rounds in the freshman building with an AR-15. Kyra Parrow, a senior at the school, responded that “...my friends were brutally murdered and you have the nerve to make this about Russia. I can not believe this.”
“You came to Florida & didn’t talk to me, my students or my coworkers. You had a photo op & played golf,” language arts and journalism teacher Sarah Lerner tweeted back at Trump.
Aly Sheehy, a senior and softball player, also slammed the president.
“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,” she wrote.
Almost immediately after the shooting, for which former Stoneman Douglas student Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of first-degree murder, students and faculty at the school became vocal about what needs to happen politically to end America’s rash of school shootings. Ted Deutch, the Democratic congressman who represents Parkland, the Northwest Broward city where the shooting took place, said Sunday on “This Week in South Florida” that the school’s efforts could be the difference that forces a change in federal laws.
“It will be impossible for my colleagues to ignore them,” Deutch said.
Trump, along with other politicians, has been blistered by students and teachers at the school for several days. The Associated Press reported Sunday that the president is scheduled to meet Wednesday with high school students, although it’s unclear if those students will be from Marjory Stoneman Douglas or from a different school.
On Saturday, before tweeting about Russia, Trump spoke with Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky and Stoneman Douglas principal Ty Thompson to “express condolences and offer support to the students, families, and community of Parkland,” according to a White House press release.
“President Trump reiterated to each official that the Nation stands with Parkland and that its residents are not alone,” the release stated.
That statement, though, is unlikely to get as much attention as Trump’s self-expressed opinions on his Twitter feed.
“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,” tweeted Morgan Williams, a student who was in one of the classrooms shot up by Cruz. “You can keep all of your fake and meaningless ‘thoughts and prayers.’”