News & Politics

Parkland Survivor: Trump 'Didn’t Make Me Feel Better in the Slightest'

Samantha Fuentes said she found the president's attempts to console her "unimpressive."

Even as his administration faces criticism for failing to act to reduce gun violence, President Donald Trump has made a show of listening to the victims of the Parkland shooting and expressing compassion for their experiences.

It didn't work.

In an interview with the New YorkTimes, one survivor, Samanta Fuentes, said she was unmoved by Trump's efforts at consolation. She was shot in both legs, and the president called her while she was in the hospital. 

“Talking to the president, I’ve never been so unimpressed by a person in my life," she told the paper. "He didn’t make me feel better in the slightest.”

She also noted, "He said he heard that I was a big fan of his, and then he said, ‘I’m a big fan of yours too.’ I’m pretty sure he made that up.”

Another student, Samuel Zeif, was dismayed when he learned that the president had written down notes about how to respond to the students' experiences.

“Everything I said was directly from the heart, and he had to write down ‘I hear you,’” Zeif told the Times. “Half the time during that meeting, his arms were crossed — I kept wanting to say, ‘Mr. President, uncross your arms.’ To me, that is the international sign for closemindedness; it’s really just a big ‘no.’”

Andrew Pollack, who lost his daughter Meadow in the shooting, did say that he appreciated the president's words.

"He showed us nothing but love," Pollack said.

The negative impressions some of the survivors had of the president are reminiscent of the experience of Myeisha Johnson, whose husband was killed while serving in the Army. Johnson said that when she got a condolence call, the president struggled to remember the name of her husband, Sgt. La David Johnson. She said this made her feel even more upset.

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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.