President Trump's Son Spent the Morning Promoting Conspiracies About Parkland Survivors

In the days after their classmates were massacred by a disturbed kid who was allowed to purchase military-style weaponry, hundreds of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High survivors have become fiery gun-control advocates. Their message is simple: Nikolas Cruz never should have been able to buy the assault weapon that he used to mow down 17 people in mere minutes.

These kids just survived a hellish bloodbath inside their own school hallways. Anyone with basic human compassion would let them have a say about what happened to them.

Instead, President Donald Trump — fresh off an empathy-free, half-hour joke of a visit to Parkland — spent the weekend using the school shooting as an excuse to yell on Twitter about the Russia investigation. And this morning, his son took to social media to spread far-right conspiracies about one of the survivors.

Donald Trump Jr. liked several tweets this morning from True Pundit — a sub-InfoWars conspiracy site known for posting made-up stories — and the similarly fact-challenged Gateway Pundit that slam David Hogg, one of the Parkland students who has made several cable-TV news appearances to plead for greater gun control. 
click to enlarge
via Twitter
click to enlarge
via Twitter
The site's big conspiracy about Hogg is that — hold onto your pants — his dad is a retired FBI agent. It's a fact that Hogg has repeatedly mentioned to TV reporters and is not at all a secret.

The idea, if you can call it that, is that somehow his father — who, again, is no longer with the FBI — is using his son as a televised mole to distract from the FBI's failure to properly investigate tips about Cruz by pushing for gun control instead.

This entire line of attack on the post-Parkland gun-control debate is asinine to begin with. It's in no way a contradiction to believe both that the FBI failed massively and that no civilians should have access to assault weapons like an AR-15.

Trump Jr.'s promotion of these conspiracies on Twitter is just the latest in the right wing's quick about-face from "thoughts and prayers" to outright attacks on the innocent kids who walked away from a killing field in their high school and are now fighting to prevent another from ever occurring again.

Other conservative pundits have attacked the students for, uh, smiling in a photo with a TV news anchor, for using social media, and for hitting back at Trump for his tone-deaf tweets.

There's another way to read these attacks: The far right is worried that Parkland will finally force real gun reform in a purple state like Florida. They're right to worry, because Parkland survivors aren't about to shut up.

More than a hundred Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students are en route this morning to Tallahassee to attend the funeral of Carmen Schentrup, a 16-year-old National Merit semifinalist gunned down by Cruz last week. Tomorrow they'll march on the state capitol to demand gun-control reform.

Will Tally's NRA-funded Republicans listen, or will they nod silently at Trump Jr.'s attacks on the kids trying to prevent another massacre?
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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink

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