Trump at Mar-a-Lago as thousands march in D.C. White House applauds 'courageous young Americans'

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Tens of thousands swarmed into the nation’s capital to march for gun control and ignite political activism among the young. Teenage marchers are pledging to vote in November for candidates that will listen to their cries for gun control. (March 24)
AP

WASHINGTON — Some March for Our Lives participants in the nation’s capital headed to the White House after Saturday’s rally — but the main occupant was not home.

President Trump spent the day in Florida, including a stint at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, and by late afternoon had not commented directly on the gun-control demonstrations that took place nationwide.

Instead, White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters issued a statement praising the marchers: “We applaud the many courageous young Americans exercising their First Amendment rights today. Keeping our children safe is a top priority of the President’s.”

In addition to proposals to improve school security and the instant background check system, Walters also cited Friday’s decision by the Justice Department to rule to ban bump stocks “following through on the President’s commitment to ban devices that turn legal weapons into illegal machine guns.”  

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Protesters gather during the March for Our Lives inThousands of valley residents participate in MarchSigns are taped to the steps of the Statehouse in MontpelierThousands of people gather in the March for Our LivesMost of the signs at the March For Our Lives rallyBefore the start of the March for Our Lives rally onDahlia Kamel, 27 of Rochester Hills marches with 10,000One of the thousands of signs that marchers held duringOne of the thousands of signs that marchers held duringAfnan Tooba, 16, and a junior at Fordson High SchoolGabrielle Posnadlo, 32 of Ferndale listens to one ofDemonstrators march through downtown during the MarchLauren Galbraith holds a sign during the March ForDebbie Babula, Franklin, joins thousands of MilwaukeeParticipants take part in the March for Our Lives RallyPeople arrive early for the March For Our Lives rallyStudents and activists display posters and chant slogansElla Bradley, 13, of East Montpelier, Vermont, showsAndrew Jaynes, 10, of New City, N.Y. was among severalDiane Gonzalez, a teacher at Chestnut Ridge ElementaryDemonstrators gather at the March For Our Lives rallyDemonstrators gather at the March For Our Lives rallyA lot of us arent able to vote so this is kind ofProtestors carry placards and shout slogans duringProtesters gather for the March for Our Lives rallyEarly arrivals for the March For Our Lives hold upParticipants line up early to reserve a spot on PennsylvaniaEarly arrivals for the March For Our Lives hold upProtesters gather for the March for Our Lives rallySusanna Getis, Leyla Kolbai and Jillian Donahue ofTahara Anderson, 42, from Wantagh, NY, is marching
Tahara Anderson, 42, from Wantagh, NY, is marching for her boys, ages 10 and 7. “One of them was really scared because the lockdown drills have increased,” she said. “He was crying, ‘What if I’m in the hall, what if I can’t get to my brother?'” Anderson said the school shootings have left her with a “feeling of dread.” She wants to stand with the kids across the country who are pushing for an end to mass gun violence. “What an inspiration they are,” she said. “Maybe they will be the voice that will bring the change.”  
Alia E. Dastagir, USA TODAY

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  • Tahara Anderson, 42, from Wantagh, NY, is marching31 of 31

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Bump stocks were not used in the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead, an attack that has since launched a reinvigorated campaign for tighter gun laws.

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President Donald Trump says he’s signed a memo directing the Justice Department to propose regulations to “ban all devices” like bump stocks used in last year’s Las Vegas massacre. (Feb. 20)
AP

Many of the demonstrators who passed by the White House on Saturday posed for pictures holding signs they had used at the march, ranging from calls for an assault weapons ban to denunciations of the National Rifle Association.

Some attached their protest signs to metal barriers placed on Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House.

Jim Kearney, 71, a retired IT worker from Exeter, Pa., said he didn’t expect Trump to be home — the president is a frequent traveler to his estates in Florida and New Jersey — but wanted to send a message anyway.

His sign read: “NRA Own$ Trump. Sad!” 

Asked if the march would do any good, Kearney said: “Who knows? I’m just hoping that this is the beginning and that this will make a difference in November.”

The president has commented on previous marches, in somewhat taunting ways.

Last year, after the Women’s March during the weekend of his inauguration, Trump tweeted: “Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn’t these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly.”

He later followed up with a more conciliatory tweet: “Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don’t always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.”

Two months ago, during a reprise of the Women’s March to mark Trump’s first year in office, the president was back at it with a somewhat snarky tweet:

“Beautiful weather all over our great country, a perfect day for all Women to March. Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months. Lowest female unemployment in 18 years!”

Prior to the gun-control march, Trump departed Washington on Friday evening for a weekend at his Mar-a-Lago estate, the so-called “Winter White House” located in Palm Beach, Fla.

In front of the White House, Taylor Boone, 25, a nurse’s assistant at a hospital in Blacksburg, Va., stood with a sign saying her brother survived the 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech, but 32 people did not.

“Guns aren’t worth innocent people’s lives,” Boone said. “The NRA has too much power over the people of Washington. I am so sick of it.”

More: DOJ proposes new ban on bump stocks that mimic machine guns

 

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Thousands march in support of gun control during theProtesters gather during the March for Our Lives inThousands of valley residents participate in MarchAvi Goldstein-Mittag, 20, leads an estimated 2,000Moustaffa Abdulrazak, 16, a junior at Fairdaile HighRebecca Kuhn clutches her daughter, Zoe, 16, a sophomoreJamille Jones, the founder of Springfield Black LivesProtesters gather during the March for Our Lives inMarch For Our Lives protesters demand their livesProtesters march through downtown Port Huron, Mich.Protesters march through downtown Port Huron, Mich.Today the Maxar News Bureau released high-resolutionThousands marched in White Plains, N.Y. as they tookThousands wait outside to enter the Indiana StatehouseAttendees of Indiana's March for Our Lives rally confrontLori Russoman and Malia Russoman, 10, from Point Pleasant,David Revilla shouts along with other protesters duringProtesters gather during the March for Our Lives inProtesters gather during the March for Our Lives inRich Osiol, a pro gun supporter watches thousands ofDozens of pro gun supporter watches thousands of valleyFormer Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the MarchBrin Geldrusch, 16, listens to a speaker during MarchBarbara McKenna of Iowa City bundles up for the MarchMarch For Our Lives marchers make their way to theMarch For Our Lives marchers make their way to theSeventeen cardboard coffins are placed in the parkingOver 1,000 march for gun control in the first annualThousands of Milwaukee students, adults and communityProtestors fill Pennsylvania Avenue during the MarchJoshua Hanson leads a chant as he joins thousands ofTallahassee Mayor and Florida gubernatorial candidatePeople leave Sartell City Hall during a March For OurThousands of people gather in the March for Our LivesThe crowd listens to Senator Debbie Stabenow talk duringMarch organizers and Reynolds High School students
March organizers and Reynolds High School students junior Hannah Kepple, 17, left, junior Audrey Meigs, 16, center, and senior Aryelle Jacobsen, 17, listen as the names of the victims of last month’s shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida are recited at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park during the Asheville March for Our Lives on March 24, 2018.  
Angeli Wright, Asheville Citizen-Times via USA TODAY NETWORKScenes from the March For Our Lives rally at Park CentralHundreds of thousands gathered at the March For OurDavid Hogg, a survivor of the mass shooting at MarjoryThe crowd at Military Park where they gathered beforeThousands of Milwaukee students, adults and communityFrom left, Lara  Linda Tedesco, Susan  ElizabethMarjory Stoneman Douglas High School student DelaneyTrevon Tre Bosley, 19, of Chicago, the brother ofPeople hold signs that read 'No More Dead Kids' atCommon and Andra Day perform Stand Up For SomethingLooking west, people fill Pennsylvania Avenue duringPeople arrive early for the March For Our Lives rallyStudents and activists display posters and chant slogansThe crowd at the March for Our Lives Rally as seenDemonstrators hold signs during a rally calling forA young man has fake blood all over him while attendingYoung people visiting the Newseum look out upon thousandsParticipants protest on Pennsylvania Avenue prior toStudents from Great Mills High School in southern Maryland,Supporters of stricter gun control stage a 'die in'American students and expats hold signs calling forStudents from Centreville, Virginia wear targets onDemonstrators gather at the March For Our Lives rallyDemonstrators gather at the March For Our Lives rallyDemonstrators gather at the March For Our Lives rallyProtestors carry placards and shout slogans duringPeople arrive for the March For Our Lives rally againstPeople arrive for the March For Our Lives rally againstPeople arrive for the March For Our Lives rally againstA woman wears a protest shirt as people arrive earlyProtestors carry placards and shout slogans duringProtestors carry placards and shout slogans duringJ.J. Miller, 17, of Baltimore, Md., blows bubbles asVendors sell pins for the March for our Lives forProtestors join the March for our Lives for gun controlDemonstrators are gathering at the March For Our LivesTahara Anderson, 42, from Wantagh, NY, is marching
Tahara Anderson, 42, from Wantagh, NY, is marching for her boys, ages 10 and 7. “One of them was really scared because the lockdown drills have increased,” she said. “He was crying, ‘What if I’m in the hall, what if I can’t get to my brother?'” Anderson said the school shootings have left her with a “feeling of dread.” She wants to stand with the kids across the country who are pushing for an end to mass gun violence.”What an inspiration they are,” she said. “Maybe they will be the voice that will bring the change.” She is at Penn Station. 
Alia E. Dastagir , USA TODAY

  • Thousands march in support of gun control during the1 of 73
  • Protesters gather during the March for Our Lives in2 of 73
  • Thousands of valley residents participate in March3 of 73
  • Avi Goldstein-Mittag, 20, leads an estimated 2,0004 of 73
  • Moustaffa Abdulrazak, 16, a junior at Fairdaile High5 of 73
  • Rebecca Kuhn clutches her daughter, Zoe, 16, a sophomore6 of 73
  • Jamille Jones, the founder of Springfield Black Lives7 of 73
  • Protesters gather during the March for Our Lives in8 of 73
  • March For Our Lives protesters demand their lives9 of 73
  • Protesters march through downtown Port Huron, Mich.10 of 73
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  • Today the Maxar News Bureau released high-resolution12 of 73
  • Thousands marched in White Plains, N.Y. as they took13 of 73
  • Thousands wait outside to enter the Indiana Statehouse14 of 73
  • Attendees of Indiana's March for Our Lives rally confront15 of 73
  • Lori Russoman and Malia Russoman, 10, from Point Pleasant,16 of 73
  • David Revilla shouts along with other protesters during17 of 73
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  • Rich Osiol, a pro gun supporter watches thousands of20 of 73
  • Dozens of pro gun supporter watches thousands of valley21 of 73
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the March22 of 73
  • Brin Geldrusch, 16, listens to a speaker during March23 of 73
  • Barbara McKenna of Iowa City bundles up for the March24 of 73
  • March For Our Lives marchers make their way to the25 of 73
  • March For Our Lives marchers make their way to the26 of 73
  • Seventeen cardboard coffins are placed in the parking27 of 73
  • Over 1,000 march for gun control in the first annual28 of 73
  • Thousands of Milwaukee students, adults and community29 of 73
  • Protestors fill Pennsylvania Avenue during the March30 of 73
  • Joshua Hanson leads a chant as he joins thousands of31 of 73
  • Tallahassee Mayor and Florida gubernatorial candidate32 of 73
  • People leave Sartell City Hall during a March For Our33 of 73
  • Thousands of people gather in the March for Our Lives34 of 73
  • The crowd listens to Senator Debbie Stabenow talk during35 of 73
  • March organizers and Reynolds High School students36 of 73
  • Scenes from the March For Our Lives rally at Park Central37 of 73
  • Hundreds of thousands gathered at the March For Our38 of 73
  • David Hogg, a survivor of the mass shooting at Marjory39 of 73
  • The crowd at Military Park where they gathered before40 of 73
  • Thousands of Milwaukee students, adults and community41 of 73
  • From left, Lara  Linda Tedesco, Susan  Elizabeth42 of 73
  • Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Delaney43 of 73
  • Trevon Tre Bosley, 19, of Chicago, the brother of44 of 73
  • People hold signs that read 'No More Dead Kids' at45 of 73
  • Common and Andra Day perform Stand Up For Something46 of 73
  • Looking west, people fill Pennsylvania Avenue during47 of 73
  • People arrive early for the March For Our Lives rally48 of 73
  • Students and activists display posters and chant slogans49 of 73
  • The crowd at the March for Our Lives Rally as seen50 of 73
  • Demonstrators hold signs during a rally calling for51 of 73
  • A young man has fake blood all over him while attending52 of 73
  • Young people visiting the Newseum look out upon thousands53 of 73
  • Participants protest on Pennsylvania Avenue prior to54 of 73
  • Students from Great Mills High School in southern Maryland,55 of 73
  • Supporters of stricter gun control stage a 'die in'56 of 73
  • American students and expats hold signs calling for57 of 73
  • Students from Centreville, Virginia wear targets on58 of 73
  • Demonstrators gather at the March For Our Lives rally59 of 73
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  • Protestors carry placards and shout slogans during62 of 73
  • People arrive for the March For Our Lives rally against63 of 73
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  • A woman wears a protest shirt as people arrive early66 of 73
  • Protestors carry placards and shout slogans during67 of 73
  • Protestors carry placards and shout slogans during68 of 73
  • J.J. Miller, 17, of Baltimore, Md., blows bubbles as69 of 73
  • Vendors sell pins for the March for our Lives for70 of 73
  • Protestors join the March for our Lives for gun control71 of 73
  • Demonstrators are gathering at the March For Our Lives72 of 73
  • Tahara Anderson, 42, from Wantagh, NY, is marching73 of 73

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