Donald Trump slammed for cue card reminder sheet as he met Florida school shooting survivors
Following the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida last week, where 17 people were killed and 15 injured, the debate around gun control has come into the forefront once more. The overwhelming response is that something needs to be done by the American government to prevent massacres like this from happening again, especially when the United States' statistics for gun violence and mass shootings are notoriously bad.
The US makes up under 5% of the world's population, and yet it holds 31% of global mass shooters. Between 1966 and 2012 there were 90 mass shootings in America, with the country with the nearest figure coming in at 18. When you realize that Americans own 48% of the civilian-owned guns worldwide, it seems that availability is a factor in these shootings.
In light of the massacre on February 14, the survivors and families of those killed have come forward to demand new laws to combat these startling facts.
While he hasn't exactly been held in high regard by the student survivors currently campaigning for tighter gun control laws, Donald Trump met with victims and families of students caught up in the shooting recently. He told them he was grieving for the deaths, while they begged him to take some immediate administrative action.
Andrew Pollack, a Trump supporter who lost his 18-year-old daughter Meadow in the attack, had some powerful words for the president:
"I'm very angry that this happened. Because it keeps happening. 9/11 happened once. And they fix everything. How many schools, how many children have to get shot? It stops here with this administration and me. I'm not going to sleep until it is fixed.
"And Mr. President, we'll fix it. Because I'm going to fix it. I'm not going to rest. And my boys need to live with this. I want to see everyone. You, you look at this. Me, I'm - I'm a man, but to see your children go through this, bury their sister. That's what I keep saying because I want it to sink in, not forget about this. We can't forget about it. All these school shootings, it doesn't make sense. Fix it.
"There should have been one school shooting and we should have fixed it. And I'm pissed. Because my daughter, I'm not going to see again. She's not here. She's not here. She's in North Lauderdale King David cemetery, that is where I go to see my kid now. And if we all work together and come up with the right idea, school safety."
However, during this meeting, one photographer caught a snap of a cue card that Trump had been holding throughout the meeting. The card held a list of prompts, including one that read, "I hear you" and "What can we do to make you feel safe?".
For any politician to let cue cards be clearly visible is a PR slip-up to begin with, but many criticised Trump for his need to have basic reminders on how to empathize with the victims of this tragedy.
Trump has said he will have more stringent background checks for those wanting to buy a gun, but also said he was considering the possibility of arming teachers, ideas which fall on either side of the debate.
"We'll be very strong on background checks, very strong emphasis on the mental health of somebody," Trump told the students during Wednesday's televised event at the White House.
"Where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them, they would go for special training and they would be there, and you would no longer have a gun-free zone.
"A gun-free zone, to a maniac, because they are all cowards, a gun-free zone is, 'let's go in and let's attack.'"
This is an endorsement of a proposal long put forward by the powerful gun lobbying group the National Rifle Association, who donated over $30 million to Trump's presidential campaign - making him the recipient of the most gun lobby funding of any presidential candidate in history.
The decision, if it will come to pass, has made many wary. This also is a supposed u-turn for Trump, who during the 2016 election claimed that he was not in favor of guns being in classrooms.
It was also reported recently that Trump asked members about gun control issues at his Mar-a-Lago resort, where he spends a substantial amount of time. There are no concealed firearms allowed on the resort, for the record.