US President Donald Trump takes part in a listening session on gun violence with teachers and students in the State Dining Room of the White House on...
MANDEL NGAN

On Parkland anniversary, Trump changes ‘gun violence’ to ‘school violence’

Updated

The Rachel Maddow Show, 2/13/19, 9:59 PM ET

House Judiciary passes first major gun violence bill in decades

Rachel Maddow reports on a bipartisan background check bill passing the Democratically controlled House Judiciary Committee, the first such gun violence prevention legislation to pass the committee since the 90s.
Rachel Maddow reports on a bipartisan background check bill passing the Democratically controlled House Judiciary Committee, the first such gun violence prevention legislation to pass the committee since the 90s.
The White House issued a statement this morning on the anniversary of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. It was a fairly long statement issued on behalf of the president, who touted the “tremendous strides” he believes his administration has made, and who made exactly one direct reference to guns:

“Melania and I join all Americans in praying for the continued healing of those in the Parkland community and all communities where lives have been lost to gun violence.”

As the Washington Post noted, Donald Trump soon after published a tweet on the same subject, which was nearly identical, though it made one important change:

“Melania and I join all Americans in praying for the continued strength and healing of those in the Parkland community and all communities where there has been the loss of life as a result of school violence.”

Careful readers will note “praying for the continued healing,” became “praying for the continued strength and healing,” and “where lives have been lost” became “where there has been the loss of life.” These were minor and inconsequential edits.

But note the last two words in each statement: Trump’s original statement referred to “gun violence,” which soon after became “school violence.”

For some on the right, all references to massacres such as these are supposed to avoid phrases such as “mass shooting” and “gun violence,” because the rhetoric, according to the right, might imply there’s something wrong with guns. We’re apparently supposed to examine violent acts by turning our attention to the perpetrator, rather than the mechanism used by the perpetrator.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that the Republican president altered his own statement in a way that satisfies conservatives’ rhetorical expectations, but it’s hardly a stretch to wonder if the West Wing received a “reminder” about the kind of language the president’s base expects him to use.

Meanwhile, on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, House Democrats are moving in a different direction. The Associated Press reported:

A key House committee approved a bill Wednesday to require background checks for all sales and transfers of firearms, a first step by majority Democrats to tighten gun laws after eight years of Republican rule.

The House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of the bill 23-15, sending it to the House floor. If approved by the full House, the bill would be the most significant gun-control legislation approved by either chamber of Congress in at least a decade.

As Rachel noted on the show last night, this was the first time in over a decade a major bill to address gun violence passed a congressional committee.