Hundreds of people arrived at Florida's Capitol Building on Wednesday to demand gun control reform in the wake of the shooting last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 students and teachers dead. The rally was led by teen survivors, while parents chanted "no more guns, save our daughters, save our sons," WCTV reports.
Florida police estimated the crowd in Tallahassee could swell to as many as 2,500 people by noon, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.
A huge crowd of teens exiting Union Station and heading to the Capitol to call for action on gun violence pic.twitter.com/5VVWGFTGij
— Zoë Carpenter (@ZoeSCarpenter) February 21, 2018
The scene at the Capitol in Tallahassee pic.twitter.com/lcJJgRzPA3
— Steve Bousquet (@stevebousquet) February 21, 2018
A tandem protest, at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., also saw students march in demand of action on gun control, with one student telling Mother Jones' Kara Voght, "I feel unsafe at school."
Uriel Zeitz, Winston Churchill High School in Montgomery County, Maryland: “I feel unsafe at school.” pic.twitter.com/oJguoFRhOm
— Kara Voght (@karavoght) February 21, 2018
President Trump will meet with survivors of shootings including Parkland, Newtown, and Columbine for a "listening session" Wednesday afternoon. Jeva Lange
Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg, 17, blasted Donald Trump Jr. as "immature, rude, and inhumane" after the president's eldest son "liked" conspiracy theories on Twitter that allege Hogg had been fed talking points by his father, who is a former FBI agent. Hogg movingly called for Congress to act to stop gun violence last week, looking into CNN's cameras directly and insisting: "Without action, ideas stay ideas and children die."
A number of pro-Trump websites, including One America News and Gateway Pundit, pushed the theory that Hogg "is running cover for his dad." Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Hogg said it was "immature, rude, and inhumane for these people to destroy the people trying to prevent the death of the future of America because they won't."
"I just think it's a testament to the sick immaturity and broken state of our government when these people feel the need to peddle conspiracy theories about people that were in a school shooting where 17 people died," Hogg said. "It just makes me sick." Jeva Lange
The White House saw last week's shooting at a Florida high school, which left 17 dead and 15 injured, as "a distraction or a reprieve," one official told The Washington Post on Monday.
"A lot of people here felt like it was a reprieve from seven or eight days of just getting pummeled," the official said, referring to several scandals of the administration's own making, including Cabinet members using taxpayer money to fly first class and top officials evidently ignoring documented accusations of domestic abuse made against former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter by his two ex-wives.
The unidentified aide added that while the spotlight isn't quite as bright on the White House right now, "as we all know, sadly, when the coverage dies down a little bit, we'll be back through the chaos." Catherine Garcia
Many have remarked on the disturbing familiarity of mass shootings, but in a powerful statement, The Boston Globe dedicated its Friday front page not to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School but to the next attack — one that hasn't even happened yet.
On its front page, the Boston Globe pre-covers the next mass shooting.
"There are only three things we don't know about the next time: Who, where, and how many?" pic.twitter.com/lskXgZgry7
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) February 16, 2018
"He will be a man, or maybe still a boy," the article begins. "He will have a semiautomatic rifle — an AR-15, or something like it — and several high-capacity magazines filled with ammunition. The weapon will have been purchased legally, the background check no obstacle. He will walk into a school, or a concert, or an office building. And he will open fire into a crowd of innocents."
Sen. Dick Durbin says he 'personally heard' Trump's 'hate-filled, vile, and racist' comments in immigration meeting
Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Friday that he "personally heard" President Trump make "hate-filled, vile, and racist" comments during a bipartisan immigration meeting Thursday that Durbin attended.
Lawmakers were reportedly in the Oval Office discussing changes to the visa lottery system when talk turned to immigrants from Africa and Trump asked why they would want people from "all these shithole countries" coming to America. While the White House did not deny the comments, Trump tweeted that "the language used by me ... was tough, but this was not the language used."
Trump's tweet "is not true," Durbin said. "He said these hate-filled things and he said them repeatedly." Durbin also claimed that Trump used the specific word "shithole" more than once. Watch Durbin's comments below. Jeva Lange
—> Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin — who was in the room — confirms Trump's comments.
"In the course of his comments, [he] said things that were hateful, vile and racist." pic.twitter.com/bkwKHUboEt
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) January 12, 2018
During a meeting with both Democratic and Republican senators on Thursday, President Trump referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as "shithole countries," a Democratic aide told NBC News.
The lawmakers were in the Oval Office discussing changes to the visa lottery system and immigration as a whole, and when talk turned to immigrants from Africa, Trump asked why they would want people from "all these shithole countries" coming to the United States. Trump, who met with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Wednesday, then said the U.S. should try to instead attract people from Norway and similar countries.
In a statement, the White House did not dispute the remarks, merely saying Trump "will always fight for the American people." On MSNBC, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut told Ari Melber Trump's comment "smacks of blatant racism. The most odious and insidious racism masquerading, poorly, as immigration policy. And, I'll be very blunt — the president doesn't speak for me as an American." Catherine Garcia
If you think you're cold, at least you're not an iguana in Florida.
The scene at my backyard swimming pool this 40-degree South Florida morning: A frozen iguana. pic.twitter.com/SufdQI0QBx
— Frank Cerabino (@FranklyFlorida) January 4, 2018
The cold-blooded creatures aren't used to the unusually chilly temperatures taking over the state right now, and when they get too frigid, their systems shut down. Those perched in trees are falling down, but experts say not to fret, as the iguanas are not dead, and once they're warmer, they get back up.
They aren't the only ones struggling. Sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico are being stunned by cold waters, causing them to float and making it easier for predators to catch them. The National Park Service said that by mid-day Tuesday, it had already rescued 41 freezing turtles, The Guardian reports. On Cape Cod, three thresher sharks were found stranded on the beach, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy said. Two had "cold shock," and one was frozen solid.
Even penguins aren't safe in extreme cold — the Calgary Zoo said over the weekend it needed to bring its king penguins inside to escape the -13 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures. Catherine Garcia
President Trump's interview Thursday with The New York Times only lasted 30 minutes, but it was enough time for Trump to declare he knows more about "the big bills" than "any president that's ever been in office," share he believes Special Counsel Robert Mueller's inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election "makes the country look very bad," and say 16 separate times "no collusion" between Russia and his campaign has been discovered so far.
The Russia probe puts "the country in a very bad position," Trump told the Times during an interview in West Palm Beach with no lawyers or aides present, and "the sooner it's worked out, the better it is for the country." He also declared he has the "absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department. But for purposes of hopefully thinking I'm going to be treated fairly, I've stayed uninvolved with this particular matter." Regarding his indicted former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Trump tried to distance himself, saying Manafort "only worked for me for a few months. Paul worked for Ronald Reagan. His firm worked for John McCain, worked for Bob Dole, worked for many Republicans for far longer than he worked for me."
He appeared to take offense at reports that he doesn't understand the new tax legislation, telling the Times, "I know the details of taxes better than anybody. Better than the greatest C.P.A. I know the details of health care better than most, better than most." Not only that, but he knows more about "the big bills" than "any president that's ever been in office."