On Sunday November 24th, I woke up to an early morning tweet from a Twitter user with a large following, who also happens to be the current occupant of the White House. He tweeted: “Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, AOC and the rest of the Democrats are not getting important legislation done, hence, the Do Nothing Democrats. USMCA, National Defense Authorization Act, Gun Safety, Prescription Drug Prices, & Infrastructure are dead in the water because of the Dems!”
Having lost my daughter in the Parkland shooting, I take gun violence very seriously. I am very aware of who is and who is not doing anything about it. I am also aware of when political figures use the issue of gun violence to politicize rather than to save lives. This tweet by the current occupant of the White House was only the latest example of his politicization of this issue while standing on the sidelines and doing nothing. I replied on Twitter about an hour later, saying “You are are a liar! Following the Parkland shooting which resulted in my daughter’s murder, the House passed gun safety legislation. Inaction and politics by you and Senate Majority leader McConnell has resulted in more dead Americans from gun violence.”
This is not the first time that this White House occupant has used the issue of gun violence for political purposes over action. This is not the first time that he has used the issue of gun violence while at the same time intentionally missing the chance to do something meaningful to save lives. He did so the day I buried my daughter, incorrectly blaming her murder on the Russia investigation—in a Tweet of course. He did so a week later when he convened legislative leaders and said we would have action. He even mocked some for being afraid to take action on this issue. We all remember how after that meeting, he spoke with the NRA that night and by the following day, he was walking away from any action.
During the 2019 State Of The Union, he used the issue of gun violence again by saying it could be dealt with by building a southern wall. Of course, we know that he was incorrect, but he stood there and politicized the issue for his political purposes, missing the chance to engage in a serious conversation on how to save lives. Most recently, after the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, we again watched him do this odd dance where he would claim for a period of time that he was going to do something, only to walk away from the process, following conversations with the NRA.
Rather than action that leads to saving lives, we end up with childish, sophomoric, dishonest tweets like the one from Sunday morning. Sadly, the end result of tweets like this show that this White House is only interested in politicizing the issue. They seem more than satisfied with becoming intentionally irrelevant to the process of actually doing anything to solve it.
The tweets for many may seem entertaining and amusing. For me, and the many other victims of gun violence, they are constant reminders of failure by this White House and failure by the Senate. Reality is that multiple bills that would save lives immediately have been passed by the House Of Representatives. Reality is that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could choose to do his job and allow debate and a vote on things like Background Checks and Extreme Risk Protection orders and we could begin legitimately saving lives.
There is more to be done, but let’s begin here. Until this White House and Majority Leader McConnell are ready to stop politicizing gun violence and to complete the work sent to them by the House of Representatives, more Americans will die. More American families will be touched by gun violence. Some reading this article will learn that they are victims of gun violence. Some reading this article will be unable to celebrate this holiday season because of preventable gun violence that will have resulted from the failure of this White House and this Senate under the leadership of Senate Majority Leader McConnell.
Reality is that nearly 2,000 kids have died since the Majority Leader of the Senate decided to block gun safety legislation passed by the House Of Representatives. How dare this White House and Leader McConnell accuse Congress of not doing anything, or, in the latter word’s, being stuck in a holding pattern?
Leader McConnell, today I visited my daughter’s gravesite. Turning the Senate into a graveyard for legislation so that your majority and the White House can stand idly by doing nothing except politicizing the issue is leading to more American families who visit loved ones in real graveyards. Do your job. If you don’t, not, this issue will become the defining issue of the next election—and you will be out of one altogether.
Fred Guttenberg has devoted the past year to the issue of gun safety and to his foundation, Orange Ribbons for Jaime, which focuses on things that were important to his late daughter, as well as on gun safety. He is also a member of the Everytown Survivor Network.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.