Donald Trump is now taking aim at the FBI for this week’s deadly school shooting in Florida, claiming that the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and potential collusion with Trump’s campaign prevented the agency from stopping the shooting.
Trump has generated widespread criticism for his response to the Valentine’s Day shooting that left 17 people dead. In the days after the shooting he appeared to place blame on the victims, saying students should have turned in the suspected shooter when he exhibited warning signs. At that point, reports had already indicated that a number of people had reported the suspect’s behavior to police.
Trump created even more controversy this weekend when he met with the police and medical responders who were first on the scene. Trump appeared to treat the event like one of his campaign rallies, and took a picture smiling and giving a thumbs-up.
As the Huffington Post noted, that photo drew a sharp reaction across social media, with critics calling it “tone deaf” and taking on Trump for appearing to make a solemn event into a promotional photo op. Trump later made the photo his banner image on Facebook.
But that controversy erupted late on Saturday night when Trump appeared to blame the deadly shooting on the Russia investigation. In a tweet sent during a visit to his luxury Mar-a-Lago resort, Trump claimed that the FBI was too preoccupied with the investigation to properly prevent the deadly school shooting.
Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018
Trump’s tweet appeared to reference a report that the FBI had been notified of some threatening social media posts made by the alleged Florida school shooter. A video blogger reported this week that he had alerted the FBI about posts made on YouTube under the shooter’s real name claiming that he was planning a school shooting like one seen in a video, the 1966 mass shooting at the University of Texas.
Officials said the issue in the case of the Florida school shooting was the result of a failure to refer the tip to the bureau's Miami office, rather than a lack of personnel or manpower.
The FBI employs about 35,000 people. https://t.co/JGxL4F9Yd3
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) February 18, 2018
As the BBC noted, Donald Trump’s tweet attempting to blame the school shooting on the Russia investigation comes just a day after one of the biggest developments in the investigation to date — the indictment of 13 Russians for interfering in the 2016 election by promoting propaganda across social media.