On Saturday, young people around the world will participate in the March for Our Lives, urging lawmakers to find solutions that stop gun violence and mass shootings just over a month after the nation’s deadliest high school shooting in Broward County.
But South Florida’s Republican lawmakers in Congress either have no plans to attend, or won’t say what they’re doing on Saturday.
The March for Our Lives was organized by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students after a former classmate killed 17 people on Valentine’s Day. The students have also been coordinating with gun-control advocacy groups who generally do not support Republican officeholders. As of Wednesday, the organizers announced that 837 marches will take place around the world, including the main event in Washington, D.C.
Every Democratic officeholder from South Florida except for one has plans to participate, either in Washington or marches in South Florida.
Here’s what elected officials had to say about their participation:
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R): Ros-Lehtinen will be attending a baptism ceremony for her grandchild on Saturday, according to a spokesperson.
“The Congresswoman will not be participating but her legislative director and other members of her D.C. staff will be meeting with march participants who have requested a meeting to discuss gun safety,” spokesperson Keith Fernandez said in an email. “Ileana’s fifth and youngest grandbaby will have his baptism at her church this Saturday.”
There are two marches happening on Saturday in Ros-Lehtinen’s district, one in Miami Beach and one in Kendall.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R): Diaz-Balart will not be attending the march, a spokeswoman said. There are two marches happening on Saturday in Diaz-Balart’s district, one in Doral and one in Miami Lakes.
Rep. Frederica Wilson (D): Wilson will be attending a women’s empowerment event in Alabama with Rep. Terri Sewell that was planned before the March for Our Lives rallies were planned, her office said. She is also hosting a delegation of students from Miami who are coming to Washington for the March for Our Lives.
President Donald Trump (R): The White House declined to answer when asked about Trump’s schedule on Saturday, though he’s expected to visit his Mar-A-Lago resort in Palm Beach this weekend, according to an alert issued to pilots Wednesday morning by the Federal Aviation Administration. If Trump heads to Mar-A-Lago, he won’t need to go far to find a march, as the West Palm Beach affiliate march is happening two miles away.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R): Scott’s staffers said they have not finalized his schedule for the weekend yet. There are 56 marches scheduled throughout Florida on Saturday, including one in Tallahassee.
Senator Marco Rubio (R): Rubio suggested that he will not be attending any March for Our Lives events, but that he doesn’t know where he will be on Saturday.
“I don’t know where I’m going to be on Saturday,” Rubio said. “It’s not up to us, we may be here voting (on a spending bill). But everyone will make their own decision, I’m a legislator, I pass public policy. Instead of marching, I should be acting. I should be passing laws, I should be getting things done with public policy. That doesn’t mean you can’t do a march, I know some legislators will do that but that’s what I’ve been focused on.”
Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R): Curbelo’s office said his plans for the weekend are uncertain due to a federal spending bill that could be finalized on Saturday.
“Given the uncertainty surrounding votes on government spending, his plans for Saturday are on hold,” Curbelo spokesperson Joanna Rodriguez said in an email. “The congressman is grateful for the advocacy of the millions of students and adults from across the country who have been moved to action since the tragedy at Parkland, and he hopes Saturday’s demonstrations across the nation will stir more of his colleagues to join him in supporting policies that could mitigate and prevent similar gun violence tragedies in the future.”
Rodriguez added that Curbelo is meeting with high school students from across his district later this spring to discuss school safety and gun violence. There are two marches on Saturday in Curbelo’s district, both in the Florida Keys.
Senator Bill Nelson (D): Nelson told the Miami Herald he plans to attend and potentially speak at the March for Our Lives in Washington. “I’m going to be wherever the kids are,” he said.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D): Wasserman Schultz’s office said she will be in Washington for the march, and is co-hosting a reception with Broward County constituents who are traveling to Washington to participate in the march.
Rep. Ted Deutch (D): Deutch, who represents Parkland in Washington, will be attending and participating in the march in Washington.
Rep. Lois Frankel (D): Frankel’s office said she will be attending the March for Our Lives event in West Palm Beach.
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D): Hastings will be in Washington for the march, and is co-hosting the reception with Wasserman Schultz and Wilson.
McClatchy Washington Bureau reporter Franco Ordoñez contributed to this report.