Donald Trump Jr. expressed his approval on Tuesday morning for a far-right smear campaign against students who survived last week’s massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Since the shooting, which killed 17 people at their school, the students have become outspoken advocates for gun control and fierce critics of the NRA.
On his Twitter account, Trump Jr. “liked” a story suggesting one of the surviving students, David Hogg, is “running cover” for the FBI. The tweet endorsed by Trump Jr. is inaccurate. It claims that Hogg’s father “works as an FBI agent at the Miami field office” when in fact Hogg’s father is retired.
The underlying article liked by Trump Jr. is a cesspool of conspiracy theories, concluding that Hogg’s advocacy is an FBI plot “only looking to curb YOUR Constitutional rights and INCREASE their power. We’ve seen similar moves by them many times over. This is just another disgusting example of it.”
Trump Jr. also liked a similar article on TruePundit.com. “The kid who has been running his mouth about how Donald Trump and the GOP are teaming to help murder high school kids by upholding the Second Amendment is the son of an FBI agent,” states the article, which does not have a byline.
According to the Daily Beast, Trump Jr. has been in touch with his father “repeatedly” since the massacre. He “has been assuring his dad that the right move was to stay strong on gun rights and draw a hard line on the issue that helped propel him in the 2016 election.” According to sources who spoke with the Daily Beast, Trump Jr. “reminded his father that inching toward gun control would be immediately taken by his conservative base—as well as major donors and motivated activist networks, including the National Rifle Association—as an unforgivable betrayal.”
Although Trump Jr. has promised to focus on running the Trump Organization and to stay out of policy matters, he has recently emerged as a high-profile surrogate for the White House, appearing frequently on cable news. He’s currently in India, where he will deliver a foreign policy address at the same event as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sell luxury condos.
Trump Jr. is part of a gradual mainstreaming of attacks on the students that started on far-right websites.
Former Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) appeared on CNN this morning and attacked the students as stooges of George Soros. Two of the students appeared on the network shortly afterward, calling Kingston’s attacks “very despicable” and promising his trolling would not slow down their advocacy.