Former Republican Congressman Compares Parkland Survivor Kyle Kashuv to a School Shooter

Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., answers questions from reporters, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 14, 2016, after members of the House of Representatives received a closed intelligence briefing from FBI Director James Comey and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson on the mass shooting at an LGBT club in Orlando. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Some exchanges just make you shake your head and this is one of those.

David Jolly is a former Republican Congressman from Florida who lost to Charlie Crist in 2016. He has since championed himself as a Trump critic and made that the staple of his political personality. After contemplating another run for Congress in 2018, he decided against it, citing that he wanted to focus on seeing the President ousted via a primary challenger in 2020. Jolly would eventually leave the Republican party in 2018 and has become a frequent guest on MSNBC.

I’m not going to spend five hundred words running down the wisdom of Jolly’s moves because it’s been done to death. What I will say is that some Trump opponents handle that transition better than others.

Here’s some evidence that Jolly isn’t handling it all that well.

I’m going to use NewsBusters for the transcript here, along with their emphasis added.

The former Republican congressman immediately denied that there was anything political with this decision, also swiping at Trump: “I don’t….I think this is the perfect story for our time. Within our culture, we have leaders who are given greater permission to racist statements…They are given greater equity. It is important for Harvard to say, no the in our community.”


He’s clearly taking a shot at Donald Trump here. What is Jolly even talking about? I’ve seen no evidence that any leader has been given greater permission to make “racist statements.” Quite the contrary in fact.

Secondly, the idea that Harvard is making a virtuous stand here is laughable. Harvard has had slave holders at their college. They’ve got former criminals there right now. But Kyle Kashuv is a bridge too far? Give me a break. This is blatantly political.

Kyle Kashuv is not a racist. He’s a kid who was trying to out shock his friends in a private conversation and said something dumb. Far be it from me to chastise a 16 year old for being stupid. That’s pretty much the definition of being 16. There is zero evidence that Kyle is actually prejudice or has ever acted in a discriminatory manner. What kind of society says to a teenager that they are irreparably damaged because they made some bad jokes to their friends in high school?

Such standards aren’t just disgusting, they are dangerous. Who gets to decide who’s banished now and how does this not lead the furthering of tense divisions in our country?

Jolly then got into the meat of his comments and things got really nasty.

[T]hese are the social media postings we see of a shooter and ask where were the signs?... We see a shooter. We go back and look at social media posts. This is exactly what we see...These are the exact posts we find of people, particularly those who advocate for stronger gun rights who has been given an audience with the president of the United States in the oval office, by Nikki Haley as well, vice president Mike Pence, an invited guest to a rally to speak for Matt Gaetz and Ron Desantis, who was a speaker at the NRA recently.


What in the actual…

It’s one of those quotes where you have to double check that it’s real. But it’s real and it’s in the video above. David Jolly compares a school shooting survivor to a school shooter. His basis? That Kashuv supports the 2nd amendment and once made some immature jokes with friends. On what planet does any of that correlate to shooting up a school? Because it’s certainly not this one.

Furthermore, even if you believe this nonsense, why in the world would you think it’s ok to say on national TV? Where’s the decency?

I’m old enough to remember when Laura Ingraham was boycotted for taking a shot at David Hogg following one of his many profanity laced attacks on conservatives. In that case, at least there was some provocation given Hogg’s insertion of himself into a clearly political arena. Here, we have a shooting survivor being equated with a school shooter over a situation that wasn’t even political. Worse, outside of right-wing media, no one in the press is batting an eye. It’s astonishing and gross.

I don’t know what Jolly was thinking here but I can speculate. As I said at the beginning of this article, some Trump opponents handle the transition better than others. Max Boot would be an example of someone who handles it horribly. They get these big media jobs and there’s a pervasive pressure to tell their new liberal audiences what they want to hear. Jolly seems like a guy who’s just slipped to far and he’s playing to the crowd.


If you want to claim to be principled, the way to do that is not to let your opposition to Trump drive you into saying insane things. Jolly crossed the line today and he deserves to be condemned for it.


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