On Friday morning, a survivor of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting called out the Trump family's response on Twitter, including the first lady and one of the president's children. Herself a fellow survivor of the shooting, the sister of David Hogg, a high-profile Parkland survivor, asked Melania Trump on Twitter to get Donald Trump Jr. to stop "cyber bullying" her family.
The 14-year-old pointed out a tweet that Don Jr. "liked" this week, which advanced a conspiracy theory about her family. She noted that the first lady previously claimed that cyberbullying is an issue she cares deeply about addressing, and asked her to speak to her stepson about it. Bustle has reached out to Hogg's sister for comment, as well as the office of the first lady.
In a pair of threaded tweets, Hogg's sister suggested the Trump should have a conversation with Don Jr. for spreading conspiracies about her family, and accused the president's 40-year-old son of putting a target on her back. The two tweets read as follows:
@FLOTUS you say that your mission as First Lady is to stop cyber bullying, well then, don’t you think it would have been smart to have a convo with your step-son @DonaldJTrumpJr before he liked a post about a false conspiracy theory which in turn put a target on my back
&created a safe space for people all over the world to call me and my family horrific things that constantly re-victimizes us and our community. I’m 14 I should never have had to deal with any of this and even though I thought it couldn’t get worse it has because of your family.
In the aftermath of high-profile mass shooting events, many outrageous conspiracy theories tend to be advanced about the victims and their families; a similar phenomenon played out following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut back in 2012.
Don Jr. liked a tweet spreading a conspiracy theory about Hogg’s father, who formerly worked as an agent at the FBI.
“VIDEO: Outspoken Trump-Hating School Shooting Survivor is Son of FBI Agent; MSM Helps Prop Up Incompetent Bureau,” the tweet said. It included a link to an article from a pro-Trump website that regularly trafficks in conspiracy theories regarding the FBI and the so-called “Deep State.”
Perhaps an effect of the Trump administration’s adversarial posture towards the FBI and American intelligence agencies ― especially amid the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller ― both Don Jr. and the president’s middle son Eric have publically backed “Deep State” conspiracy theories, claiming such agencies are out to get their father.In this case, a conspiracy theory about the FBI combined with a conspiracy theory trying to undermine the Parkland shooting survivors that Don Jr.'s account "liked" on Twitter.
In the final days of the 2016 presidential race, the first lady made it clear that she wanted to focus on cyberbullying during her time in the White House. In one of her rare campaign speeches less than a week from the election, she described American culture as being “too mean” and “too rough.”
“Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough, especially to children and teenagers,” she said. “We have to find a better way to talk to each other, to disagree with each other, to respect each other,” she continued. “We must find better ways to honor, and support the basic goodness of our children, especially in social media.”
The announcement drew some skeptical reactions at the time, owing to her husband’s own history of inflammatory, combative, and bullying behavior on social media, specifically through his Twitter account.