With Florida high school students practically begging politicians to do something about the gun violence that threatens their right to a decent education without fearing for their lives, the president of the United States appears to be most concerned about his own image.
And the image Donald Trump chooses to project to the world in the wake of the horrible massacre this week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is one of smiles and a signature thumb’s up.
Trump tweeted various photos following a brief Friday night visit to a hospital and sheriff’s office near the high school where 17 people died this week and many others were injured. The president and first lady Melania Trump are pictured smiling with hospital staff and police officers as Trump flashes a thumb’s up.
In fact, he does this several times, including in the new profile photo of his Twitter account.
According to The Washington Post, Trump spent about 35 minutes in the hospital and a little longer in the sheriff’s office. While there, instead of grieving with, and speaking out on behalf of, victims’ family members, he focused on praising first responders.
“Incredible job, and everybody is talking about it,” he said at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. “It’s an incredible thing,” he added.
There is nothing inherently wrong with praising first responders and hospital staff, who often work long, exhausting hours. The problem is when the president of the United States uses them as political pawns to avoid talking about the real issue, which is guns, and to avoid looking grieving family members in the eye and promising to do something about it.
As the Post notes:
[Trump] did not give an emotional or rousing commemoration to the victims — like President Barack Obama’s after a mass shooting at a Charleston, S.C., church — nor did he publicly greet any families whose children were killed in the attack. Speaking at a funeral or a large vigil was not on the agenda. There were no calls for American resolve. There were no tears.
No tears. No talk about guns. Just smiles. And that nauseating thumb’s up.