On May 21, 2016, then-candidate Donald J. Trump, a real-estate heir turned reality-TV host with an apparent affinity for extramarital affairs with porn stars, tweeted the following: “Crooked Hillary said that I want guns brought into the school classroom. Wrong!”
Well, it turns out Hillary was right (though she was right back then, too).
Following a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead at the hands of a 19-year-old armed with a legally purchased AR-15 assault rifle, President Trump has taken a page from the National Rifle Association playbook, blaming anything but guns—movies, video games, the media, you name it—for the mass shooting.
If that weren’t enough, the president pushed the NRA position that teachers in schools should be armed. “We need to let people know: You come into our schools, you’re gonna be dead, and it’s gonna be fast,” Trump told a group of school-shooting survivors and their parents during a “listening session” in Washington, D.C. this past week.
“OK, so first thing there: ‘You’re going to be dead, and it’s going to be fast’ is already the slogan for Carl’s Jr., so you can’t use that,” joked John Oliver on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight. “Trump’s support for this clearly terrible idea seemed to develop over the week. He actually focus-grouped it on Wednesday during a listening session featuring survivors of the shooting—a session, incidentally, for which his notes including a reminder to say ‘I hear you,’ which is what you might write down if you were a robot pretending to be a person pretending to be a robot pretending to be a person.”
Unsurprisingly, the whole “arming teachers” idea didn’t go down well in the room of survivors. When Trump asked for a show of hands in support, only a few hands were raised; when he asked for those opposed, most of the room raised their hands.
“That is Donald Trump in a nutshell: proposing a terrible idea in a tone-deaf way then refusing to acknowledge that he just lost the popular vote,” said Oliver.
The late-night host added: “Now, there are clearly multiple issues with the idea of arming teachers—from the fact that it is not their job, to the fact that there was an armed deputy in Parkland and that didn’t deter or stop the shooter—but even the logistics of this plan are pretty daunting.”
Indeed, as there are an estimated 3.1 million public-school teachers and 400,000 private-school teachers in America, arming 20 percent of them—as Trump suggested—would mean more than 700,000 armed teachers in our nation’s schools.
“Yeah. So it’s no wonder the NRA likes this solution—it involves buying hundreds of thousands of guns, and that’s their solution to everything. They probably deal with climate change by pointing a Glock at the ocean and daring that motherfucker to rise,” cracked Oliver. “And it’s worth noting that one of the key groups expressing doubts about this idea are teachers.”
During a recent appearance on CBS This Morning, Lily Eskelsen Garcia, the president of the National Education Association—which represents some 200,000 higher-education employees nationwide—said of Trump and the NRA’s arming teachers idea, “This does not pass any common-sense test whatsoever… The problem is that very dangerous people have very easy access to very dangerous weapons.”
“She’s right, and she’s using the patient, exasperated tone of a teacher explaining something to the dumbest student in her class—which, in a way, she is,” Oliver said of Trump, before mimicking a teacher. “‘Donald, your answer doesn’t make sense. Also, we don’t actually want ‘less’ guns in schools, we want ‘fewer’ guns in schools. Donald… Focus, Donald… One, two, three all eyes on me!’”