Trump tells supporters to ‘get over’ fatal school shooting
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told an audience at a campaign stop in the US state of Iowa on Friday that they should “get over” a school shooting in the state this week during which a young boy was shot to death.
After offering his sympathies to the victims in Perry, Iowa on Thursday morning, Trump suggested at a campaign event in Sioux Center that Iowans should move on from the incident.
“It’s just horrible – so surprising to see it here,” Trump said. “But we have to get over it. We have to move forward.”
Trump’s comments came about 36 hours after 11-year-old Ahmir Jolliff was gunned down by a teenage shooter as students gathered in a cafeteria for breakfast on Thursday morning. Six others, including two staff members – one of whom was the school principal – and four teenage students, were also injured.
A 17-year-old student allegedly responsible for the attack died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials said. Police also stated that a search of the school revealed an improvised explosive device.
“We knew Trump lacked empathy for others, but no one thought he could go this low,” a statement from American Bridge, a Democratic Super Pac (political action committee), said late Friday. “This is beyond the pale, even for Trump,” the statement added.
Trump has previously argued that firearms cannot be considered a primary factor in repeated instances of school shootings in the United States. During an April 2023 speech to the National Rifle Association (NRA), he said that violence in schools is “not a gun problem” – instead blaming a host of other elements, including Democrats and a lack of adequate mental health screening.
Several of Trump’s opponents for the GOP presidential nomination, including Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, and Vivek Ramaswamy, issued statements condemning school violence in the wake of the shooting. However, Trump’s comments on Friday were his first public statements on the matter.
The GOP candidates’ statements came as the Iowa caucuses, which will begin the 2024 Republican primary voting season, are set to take place on January 15. Trump remains the clear frontrunner to challenge presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in this year’s election, according to polling data.