Nation

Joe Kennedy III bashes GOP response to school shooting

Representative Joe Kennedy.
Jacquelyn Martin/Associated press
Representative Joe Kennedy.

US Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III, in a fiery appearance on “The View” Friday morning, lashed out at the Republican response to the Parkland, Fla., school massacre last week, but struck a softer tone when he addressed the need for more bipartisanship in Washington.

A day after President Trump proposed arming some teachers as a way to help avert school massacres, Kennedy was unequivocal in his rejection of the concept.

“The idea that somehow the right way to protect our children in schools is to try to make sure more and more people have guns? . . . There was someone with a gun outside this shooting and it didn’t make a difference at all,” he said, referring to the armed school resource officer stationed outside the building who failed to respond.

Advertisement

The congressman’s comments, and his appearance more generally, received a warm response from the television audience, who cheered loudly as he spoke.

Get Ground Game in your inbox:
Daily updates and analysis on national politics from James Pindell.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Kennedy, the great-nephew of the late senator Edward M. Kennedy — a staunch advocate of mental health care — went on to note that blaming the gun problem in this country on mental health is misguided.

“Don’t turn around and tell me this is a mental health issue when you tried to cut” such funding, he said, to more cheers. He referred to the president’s budget proposal, released earlier this month, which aims to slash funding for Medicaid and other social programs.

Unprompted, the Massachusetts politician then turned the conversation to co-host Meghan McCain, whose father is Senator John McCain. The elder McCain, he suggested, can be credited with trying to bring a sense of sanity and bipartisanship back to a fractured Washington.

“Your dad has admirers all over the country,” Kennedy told the co-host. “I’m not sure there are bigger admirers than people in my family . . . and not because our politics line up.”

Advertisement

Meghan McCain explained that “in a strange piece of poetic irony,” both Ted Kennedy and her father were diagnosed with the same form of cancer. She noted that her father has stories of fighting bitterly with Kennedy on the Senate floor and then coming together for a hug.

The younger Kennedy noted that Capitol Hill misses McCain, who continues to battle his cancer.

“You have a person there in Senator McCain that has an integrity in him and will stand up for the political process,” Kennedy said.

As to the inevitable question of whether he will he run for president, Kennedy was predictably coy, telling the hosts “not to hold your breath” and insisting that as parents of an infant, he and his wife are just focused on getting a little shut-eye.

“We’ve got a 2-year-old and a 9-week-old,” he noted. “He got up at 1 in the morning and has been up since. So the main thing on our horizon is 1.) sleep and then some sort of schedule and reliability.”