Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg doubled down in his smears against Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and the National Rifle Association (NRA) Monday during an interview on CNN’s “New Day” — but this time anchor Alisyn Camerota challenged the young man’s hateful words.
After 19-year-old former expelled student Nikolas Cruz killed 17 victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14, many students from the campus turned their ire against firearms, the NRA and GOP lawmakers who defend Americans’ Second Amendment rights.
Rubio, in particular, incurred the wrath of pro-gun control advocates despite his efforts to reach out to victims’ families and survivors, along with backing legislation with school safety measures and some firearm regulations. But that wasn’t enough for Hogg and many of his peers.
During Saturday’s March for Our Lives, protesters held up signs calling Rubio “#NRAb***h” and “#KidKiller” for accepting NRA donations. Hogg said during the rally, “I’m going to start off by putting this price tag right here as a reminder for you guys to know how much Marco Rubio took for every student’s life in Florida.”
The price tag read $1.05, which is the NRA’s $3.3 million donations to Rubio divided by the 3.1 million students across Florida.
“You know, I want to talk to you about Sen. Marco Rubio because my eyes were opened when I was [at the March for Our Lives],” Camerota said to Hogg. “You guys have sort of targeted him as somebody who you don’t think is doing enough and who you sort of depict as being callous.”
“But I guess my point is that, if you’re trying to get everybody together, if you’re trying to have solutions, do you think it is helpful when you say things like, ‘Marco Rubio is putting,’ you know, ‘For $1.05,’ or whatever your coupon said, ‘that’s how much he values students.’ I mean, do you think that’s unnecessarily provocative?” Camerota asked Hogg.
Hogg doubled down, claiming that his rhetoric isn’t “even provocative enough” because Rubio “is still supported by the NRA, which works to ensure not the safety of gun owners and the safety of Americans everywhere, but to ensure that they sell more guns.”
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“And at the end of the day, so long as he is being paid by the NRA, he’s not going to work to fix anything that is going to be concrete change,” Hogg claimed. “He’s going to make laws that get him re-elected, but actually don’t have any major effect.”
Although Camerota noted that she isn’t a “Rubio spokesperson,” she told Hogg that “now that I’ve heard what he’s doing behind the scenes … all I’m suggesting is that maybe your ire is misplaced, you know, since he is actually trying to work across the aisle.”
Hogg refused to back down, saying, “I think it’s a great step that he’s trying to work across the aisle. But I think so long as he is supported by the NRA, no matter what he does there’s always going to be loopholes in anything that he does.”
Camerota admitted on air Saturday that she had been wrong to minimize Rubio’s efforts to address the Parkland shooting. Camerota noted Monday that Rubio has reached out to Parkland victims and their families “behind the scenes” and advocated for the Fix NICS Act and the Stop School Violence Act.
“Yes, these are low-hanging fruit, yes, you want more, but should you be giving credit for even these incremental steps, David?” Camerota asked.
Although Hogg admitted that “it’s good that we’re having these incremental steps,” he accused Rubio and other GOP lawmakers of “leaving a lot of loopholes in here and trying to seem like they are doing things, when in reality these laws have more holes than Swiss cheese.”
Curtis Houck, managing editor at the Media Research Center (MRC), told LifeZette that it “was a surprise” to see Camerota “essentially confess to partnering with the liberal Parkland students and Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch [Fla.] in falsely attacking Senator Rubio.”
“You always wish liberal journalists could just offer a direct apology and say, ‘I’m sorry,’ but that’s not what we got here,” Houck said. “Camerota responding by pressing David Hogg was the first real pushback Hogg has ever faced. Unfortunately, it’s over a month later and I don’t expect any of that to continue.”
Camerota also asked Hogg to address his vehement verbal attacks against the NRA.
“You said that the NRA is responsible for — is ‘allowing the slaughter’ of kids,” Camerota said. “Look, again, I don’t want to be an NRA spokesperson, but, obviously, they don’t want the slaughter of children. NRA members have children themselves. People who work at the NRA have their own children.”
“Do you think that you are polarizing in saying things like that? And maybe it would help to get the NRA on board with some of what your asks are,” Camerota continued.
Hogg replied, “I think if the NRA was on board, they would actually implement safety and they would actually give people grants to these schools, and not just make it a few grants.”
“If you look into it, their programs to actually ensure just school safety alone have not been enough. What they do — what the NRA does from my perspective — they don’t teach enough gun safety,” Hogg said. “What the problem is is when the people at the top are paid by the gun industry to ensure that they scare American citizens and that they are able to sell more guns and scare more people as a result.”
More than one million people attend the NRA’s annual training courses, according to the NRA’s website.
“Individuals with a solid background with firearms can be credentialed and authorized to conduct NRA-approved training courses,” the website read. “We offer gunsmith schools as well as courses to become certified instructors, counselors, coaches, and range safety officers.”