Trump's tone-deaf response to the Sandy Hook shooting anniversary is causing outcry

"He slapped us all in the face"

By Matthew Rozsa

Published December 18, 2017 1:19PM (EST)

           (AP/Jason Decrow)
(AP/Jason Decrow)

President Donald Trump is being harshly criticized by the mother of one of the young children who died in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Her reason? The president invited NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre to the White House for a Christmas party on the five year anniversary of that terrible tragedy.

After commenting that "most people show compassion and remembrance" for the loss of her child in the shooting, Nicole Hockley posted on Facebook that the Trump White House had acted disrespectfully in two ways.

"First, when Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about the Sandy Hook shooting and what the president and his administration are trying to do to prevent similar massacres, Sanders remarked she was unaware of any regulation that could have been put in place to prevent anything," Hockley wrote. Hockley explained how regulations like the Extreme Risk Protection Orders and Threat Assessment both could have prevented the Sandy Hook shooting, and noted that if perpetrator Adam Lanza had been recognized as a threat earlier or if the gun he used had been stored safely and responsibly, the shooting may have also been averted.

Hockley's main anger, however, was directed against Trump.

"Not only did he ignore the 5-year remembrance completely — not even a single tweet — he slapped us all in the face by having none other than NRA President Wayne LaPierre at his White House Christmas party that night," Hockley wrote. "The appalling lack of humanity and decency has not gone unnoticed."

When it comes to the remarks by press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Hockley was referring to a statement she made in a press conference on the anniversary of the shooting. In addition to claiming that she wasn't "aware" of any regulation that could have prevented the shooting, Hockley also cited Trump's attempts to limit immigration as proof that he's concerned about the safety of American citizens, even though Lanza was not an immigrant.

In terms of LaPierre's presence at the Christmas party, Sanders confirmed that he had been present, although she did not know whether he had talked to Trump while he was there.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Donald Trump Gun Control Nra Sandy Hook Elementary-school Shooting Wayne Lapierre