Megyn Kelly began her hour of NBC’s Today show Thursday with her thoughts about “the latest in a shameful string of school shootings in our country.”
And in the aftermath of that shooting, which left at least 17 dead at a high school in Parkland, Florida, Kelly sees no hope in sight.
After a report on the ground from NBC colleague Gabe Gutierrez, Kelly delivered an angry and stunningly pessimistic monologue about America’s gun problem that was at odds both with her new, sunny disposition as NBC morning host and the conservative firebrand role she embodied for years on Fox News.
“There have been at least 12—at least 12 school shootings so far in America in 2018. It’s February 15th,” Kelly said. “How we doing, America? Everyone okay with that? Apparently the answer is, in fact, yes, because we haven’t done virtually anything to stop it.”
“We all know what’s about to happen right now, don’t we?” she continued. “We’re going to say how sorry and shocked and sad we are and then we’re going to move on without doing anything. And then we’ll express how sorry and shocked and sad we are at the next one. And the one after that.”
Kelly made those comments before President Trump made his first public comments on the shooting without even mentioning guns.
“Does anyone really think that we’re going to do anything after these mass murders?” Kelly asked. “I don’t. I don’t believe that. I don’t believe in a single one of these politicians. I don’t believe any of them have the courage it takes to push through reform. Why? Because, history.”
Notably, Kelly made no distinctions between Democratic members of Congress calling for action on guns and Republican ones who want to “reserve judgement” and not “jump to conclusions.”
Kelly’s past rhetoric on guns has been relatively consistent, at least dating back to 2012’s Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting when, as she told viewers today, she was pregnant with her third child as she reported the deaths of six-year-olds live on Fox News.
“That was the one where we all thought, now we will do something. Now we have to change. But we didn’t,” she said. “If 20 dead first-graders don’t spur people to action, what will?”
A few months after that shooting, Kelly pushed Wayne LaPierre to explain the NRA’s opposition to a bill that would limit gun magazines. A few days later, she was visibly moved by the tears of a grieving Newtown parent. “It’s hard when you look at the grieving parents, including yourself, who are asking you to do something, to not do it,” she told the father. But that’s exactly what Congress did. It’s no wonder she is so discouraged five years later.
“And then there are the guns,” Kelly said near the end of her remarks on Thursday. “Don’t even think about it. No gun reforms are getting through. They’re not! And most of the ones that will be proposed in the wake of this shooting will be utterly meaningless and wouldn’t have even arguably prevented this killing.”
“The NRA is too powerful, our politicians are too weak, and the guns are too ubiquitous,” she continued. The audience audibly gasped when Kelly told them there are more than 300 million guns in America. “In the meantime, I and other parents have to send our kids to school and play Russian roulette with their lives.”
When kids are hiding in closets from shooters, whether real or during drills, Kelly said, “Don’t even think about letting the teacher lead a prayer to get them through the moment, because the guns are perfectly legal, but the prayers are not.”
“I wish I had the solution,” Kelly said, letting out a deep sigh. “One part of it is courage. To get honest, to give a damn.” Like her former Fox News colleague Geraldo Rivera, she advocated redirecting the money Trump wants to spend a border wall to “this problem” instead.
“How about showing any resolve at all?” she asked into the camera. “Any resolve at all to really solve this problem. Wouldn’t that be a start? In the meantime, we will be waiting and praying.”