Thanks to a long lens from press photos, a little reminder on Donald Trump's crib notes for the Parkland listening session is standing out to people on Twitter. Tweeted during the event, AP said, "President Donald Trump holds notes during a White House listening session with students and parents affected by school shootings" and in the photo, you can see the fifth point for Trump: A reminder for him to tell the participants, "I hear you."
On Wednesday, the White House held a listening event for the survivors of the Florida high school shooting that killed 17 people on Feb. 14. The participants also included survivors from other mass shootings, such as Sandy Hook and Las Vegas, to discuss the state of gun violence across the United States.
Crib notes are often used by public speakers, political figures, debaters, and other people delivering open lectures. A crib note is basically a piece of paper where the speaker jots down the meaty bits of their speech. They help with pivoting to the next point and creating a coherent theme for their topic.
So, it's not exactly out of the normal that Trump used a crib note for his listening session. But it is eyebrow-raising that he needed to remind himself to say "I hear you" to a group of grieving, enraged, and mourning people. At first, some people couldn't even believe that the photo was real. Some even said, "Please, for the love of God, tell me that's fake." To which one user said, "Nope. It's our reality."
Because the roving eye of the Internet is ever piercing and observant, some people also noticed another peculiar fact about the photo. You can see it, too. If you look at Trump's right arm, you'll notice that the president has "45" stitched into his shirt cuff.
Online, Trump's crib note elicited criticism. One Twitter user said, "Donald Trump needs to write down notes to remind him to say "I hear you" and "What do you want to tell me about your experience" when talking to victims of mass shootings. The man is either a f***ing idiot, a monster incapable of human empathy, or both. Probably both." Another Twitter user said that it was "remarkable that the last note is a reminder to say 'I hear you,' because Donald Trump is so terrible at base-level humanity that his aides felt the need to write that."
For others on social media, the note itself wasn't as alarming as was the possibility that the president may not pay heed to the survivors' demands for better and sensible gun legislation in the country. Twitter user Nova Marie said, "Donald Trump can write "I hear you" on his cliff notes all he wants, but hearing is pointless without the ability to comprehend." At the Wednesday session, Trump said that the government would take steps to carry out "very strong background checks" as he was joined by Vice President Mike Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
The president said, "We’re going to be very strong on background checks, we’re doing very strong background checks, very strong emphasis on the mental health."
Trump also suggested to arm teachers in order to avoid mass shootings. While speaking of one of the victims from the Parkland shooting, coach Aaron Feis, Trump said Feis would be alive today if he had a gun. "If he had a firearm, he wouldn’t have had to run, he would have shot him, and that would have been the end of it. This would only obviously be for people who are very adept at handling a gun," he said. But just like his "I hear you" note, Trump's suggestion met vociferous criticism online.