Yesterday, the nation was rocked by another tragic shooting when a 15-year-old boy entered a Kentucky school and shot two students dead, wounding 18 others. It’s the sort of heartbreaking incident that Americans have grown all too accustomed to in a country awash in firearms.
President Trump didn’t so much as send out a tweet expressing condolences to the families of the victims, but somehow made the time to attack CNN and the FBI for the umpteenth time.
It’s perhaps not surprising that he chose to avoid calling attention to the Kentucky shooting, given the fact that his administration has refused to tackle even basic, common sense gun control measures despite the deadliest shooting in modern history occurring under his watch in Las Vegas this past October. Trump can’t risk offending his NRA benefactors by addressing the epidemic of American gun violence so he remains silent as Americans are gunned down.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Demonstrating both class and grace, Trudeau tweeted out that he had personally spoken to the Governor of Kentucky and offered his condolences on behalf of Canada.
It’s a simple gesture but demonstrates exactly the kind of empathy that our president is so sorely lacking. Trump has not said that he called Governor Bevin, and it seems likely that if he had it’s something he would have tweeted about.
I’ve spoken with Kentucky’s @GovMattBevin to offer condolences on behalf of Canadians for today’s shooting in Benton. Our hearts go out to Kentuckians, and to all those affected by this tragedy.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 23, 2018
Bevin himself previously sent out a tweet that struck a different tone than previous defenses of unmitigated access to guns:
The souls of Marshall County have been bruised and the fabric of the community has been torn, but the people of Benton, KY and the surrounding communities are strong…With faith in God and with reliance on friends and family, we will get through this dark day together…#WeAreKY
— Governor Matt Bevin (@GovMattBevin) January 23, 2018
The somber tone after a deadly shooting in his own state is a stark contrast to Bevin’s abrasive reaction to last fall’s Las Vegas mass shooting in which 49 people were killed. The governor tweeted a love note to the NRA rather than victims, saying “To all those political opportunists who are seizing on the tragedy in Las Vegas to call for more gun regs…You can’t regulate evil.”
This despite the fact that 75% of Kentuckians support universal background checks.
It’s disgraceful that Donald Trump is ignoring the suffering of the families affected by this senseless violence as well as the suffering of Kentucky as a whole. It’s a shame that it takes a foreign leader to offer the basic compassion that grieving Americans deserve right now from their president.
UPDATE: 22 hours after Trudeau’s tweet, Trump finally tweeted about the shooting in Kentucky with a message that seems uncannily similar to that of his Canadian counterpart:
Earlier today, I spoke with @GovMattBevin of Kentucky regarding yesterday’s shooting at Marshall County High School. My thoughts and prayers are with Bailey Holt, Preston Cope, their families, and all of the wounded victims who are in recovery. We are with you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2018