On Sunday, Jack Kingston, a former Trump campaign surrogate and CNN contributor, took to Twitter to suggest that students who survived the high school massacre in Parkland, Florida were being organized by “left-wing” activists.
— Jack Kingston (@JackKingston) February 19, 2018
During an interview on CNN Tuesday, Kingston stood by his claim that students organizing for gun safety laws after 17 people were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, were being “hijacked by left-wing groups that have an agenda.”
“Their sorrow can very easily be hijacked by left-wing groups … Do we really think 17-year-olds on their own are going to plan a nation-wide rally?”
“I would say to you very plainly that organized groups that are out there like George Soros are always ready to take up the charge, and it’s kind of like instant rally, instant protest and those groups are ready to take it — take it to the streets,” he added.
CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, who spent the last few days in Florida interviewing survivors, fired back by saying the students she met were “wildly motivated” and not “indoctrinated by some left wing group” like Kingston claims.
Florida school shooting survivor's dad responds to Jack Kingston suggesting kids are being coached with left-wing talking points in the wake of massacre: "Not a chance. These students are motivated. These students are intelligent. The only motivation they have is making change." pic.twitter.com/ys4fopLPMY
— New Day (@NewDay) February 20, 2018
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Brandon Abzug fired back at Kingston’s claim on Tuesday, saying he thinks “it’s very despicable that he would have the audacity to say that.”
“Young people across this country and the world should feel they have the power to make things right, and especially in the wake of a tragedy, we show who we truly are. To say that just because we’re young, we can’t make a difference, is not right. He should apologize,” he added.
Fellow Stoneman Douglas shooting survivor Delaney Tarr also pushed back on the remarks.
“With any movement, there comes this amount of hating and trolling and people saying, ‘You’re just a little kid, you don’t know what you’re talking about,’ or ‘You’re a puppet,’” she said. “Ultimately we have to move past all that. The amount of support we’re getting is so overwhelming compared to everything else.”
Kingston’s remarks outraged CNN viewers who took to Twitter to call on the network to terminate the former Republican congressman.
— William James (@ItsWillJames) February 20, 2018
After what Jack Kingston just said on CNN they should fire him just like Jeffrey Lord. fire Kingston now…
— Jeff MacFarlane (@JeffMacFarlane2) February 20, 2018
Jack Kingston needs to be put in the same category as Jeffrey Lord. Both are gratuitous sycophants with zero moral compass and brain power whatsoever. This, my friends, is what lacking critical thinking skills and embracing stupid conspiracies looks like. #NoLegToStandOn
— Jack M. Freedman (@JackFreedman81) February 20, 2018