On Wednesday, President Donald Trump held a listening session with survivors and family members of the victims of last week's deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida. And during the event, one father's emotional and angry statement drew a lot of attention ― namely, Andrew Pollack, the father of a slain Parkland victim who demanded Trump "fix the schools."
Pollack has been in the news since the shooting, perhaps most notably for his emotional remembrance of his daughter at her funeral services last week. During Wednesday's event at the White House, Pollack stuck an impassioned and outraged tone when he was handed the microphone, repeatedly insisting that something should be done to better protect schools against mass shootings, and indeed, that something should have been done long ago.
"How many schools, how many children have to get shot? It stops here with this administration and with me. I'm not gonna sleep until its fixed. And Mr. President, we're gonna fix it," Pollack said. "All these school shootings, it doesn't make sense. Fix it. It should've been one school shooting, and we should've fixed it! And I'm pissed! Because my daughter, I'm not gonna see again. She's not here."
Pollack very notably did not call for any legislation aimed at reforming gun laws, to be clear. In fact, he explicitly argued that gun reform shouldn't be considered until the government can "fix the schools," apparently mainly by way of increasing security on campuses.
"We all work together, and we all come up with the right idea, and it's school safety. It's not about gun laws right now, that's another fight, another battle. Let's fix the schools, and then you guys can battle it out, whatever you want. But we need our children safe, Monday, tomorrow, whatever it is."
Pollack's statement that he and "this administration" would fix the problem of lax security on school campuses is notable, because much of the post-shooting commentary has been about gun control, and been undertaken by opponents of the president. Pollack, to the contrary, is an apparent supporter of the president's.
According to a report last week from The Sun-Sentinel, Pollack addressed his grief in the face of his daughter's death during her services on Friday afternoon.
"You killed my kid," Pollack reportedly told the assembled mourners. "‘My kid is dead’ goes through my head all day and all night. I keep hearing it over and over."
"This is just unimaginable to think I will never see my princess again,” he continued, according to the report. “This piece of s--- killed my kid, and I couldn’t do anything about it. That’s never happened to me in my life. I’m always able to protect my family in any situation."
The Wednesday afternoon White House event drew a lost of eyeballs, as it was covered on the major cable news networks, and streamed live online by the White House. In the aftermath of the Parkland shooting, reports suggested that Trump was following coverage of the survivors in the news, and was asking members at his private Mar-a-Lago club whether he should push for new gun control laws.
Thus far, it remains entirely unclear whether the Parkland survivors and activists will force any forward momentum on such laws, or whether Trump will embrace any particular policy proposal. One thing that's very clear, however, is that the survivors who're aiming to put pressure on the president and the Congress aren't going away anytime soon. To the contrary, they've already scheduled a massive protest for gun reform, called the March for Our Lives, which will be descending on Washington, D.C. on March 24.