It’s one thing for the White House Press Secretary to respond to questions about the growing proliferation of guns and school shootings in our country from a seasoned news reporter, but when the question comes from a reporter still in school and actually experiencing the fear of violence on a daily basis, it’s another story entirely.
That was indeed the situation at the White House press briefing today when Sarah Huckabee Sanders called on an unidentified young student journalist who looked like he wasn’t old enough to be in high school yet.
She prefaced her calling on the boy with a comment that she hoped the question wouldn’t be as tough as those she faced on “Bring Your Kids to Work Day.
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Sanders did not get off so easily. In his yet-to-break, high-pitched voice, the boy read his pointed question in a confident manner as Sanders stood at the podium.
“At my school, we recently had a lockdown drill. One thing that effects mine and other students’ mental health is the worry about the fact that we or our friends could get shot at school,” the student journalist asked. “Specifically, can you tell me what the administration has done, or will do, to prevent these senseless tragedies?”
The question he asked caused the normally stone-faced Sanders to drop her belligerent exterior for a brief moment as she struggled to maintain composure while answering the question.
The press secretary appeared for a moment to hover between laughing and breaking into tears as she responded to a question she’s often defensively parried when asked about the same issue by adult reporters who haven’t had to personally experience the daily fear of being killed while trying to complete their education.
“I think that, uhh, as a kid and certainly as a parent there us nothing that could be more terrifying for a kid to go to school and not feel safe. So I’m sorry that you feel that way,” Sanders began her response.
“Uhh, this administration takes it seriously and the school safety commission that the president convened is meeting this week again an official meeting, uhh, to discuss the best ways forward and how we can do every single thing within our power to protect kids in our schools and to make them feel safe and make their parents feel good about dropping them off.
Perhaps the presence of an elementary school-aged reporter made the press secretary contemplate for a brief second her own role in the White House inaction on moving forward on the promises made and quickly abandoned in the wake of the 17 people massacred in the shootings in Parkland, Florida in February.
President Trump on live television advocated for raising the age limit to purchase rifles and passing legislation to mandate near-universal background checks for gun buyers, but abandoned the promise after meeting with NRA officials who bankroll the campaigns of so many Republican candidates across the nation.
It’s telling that Sanders couldn’t point to any concrete actions or plans taken by the administration outside of the planned meeting. Her deflection of the question by failing to provide a meaningful answer may perhaps weigh more heavily on her conscience than it otherwise would, but it taught a valuable lesson on media obfuscation to a budding student journalist.
You can watch a video clip of the entire exchange in the excerpt below.
A student journalist asks @PressSec what the administration is doing to prevent school shootings. She chokes up, but can't cite A SINGLE THING THE ADMINISTRATION IS DOING TO PREVENT THEM pic.twitter.com/Fq1QKqrZ73
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 30, 2018
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