An Associated Press photograph taken Wednesday evening shows President Trump’s handwritten talking points as he hosted a listening session where a group of students, parents, and families recounted their experiences with deadly school shootings.
The AP photograph shows Trump holding what looks to be a piece of paper or pamphlet with “White House” letterhead. The notes included numbered questions and comments for those in attendance, including: “What would you most want me to know about your experience?” and “What can we do to help you feel safe?”
The last talking point was fairly straightforward: “I hear you.”
The photograph began circulating on social media shortly after the event ended, causing some to criticize him for needing notes to remember to empathize with students.
Trump's crib notes during the WH gun violence listening session: "5. I hear you" pic.twitter.com/XRI0X78b5U— David Mack (@davidmackau) February 21, 2018
Trump brought cliff notes to the gun violence listening session. Final note ?I hear you? pic.twitter.com/AQZAXIkFep— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) February 21, 2018
Trump apparently requires notes to remember he should empathize https://t.co/rxTaGvJ3oZ— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) February 21, 2018
Several others pointed out that Trump’s notes had echoes of former president George H.W. Bush telling New Hampshire voters during a 1992 campaign speech, “Message: I care.”
Reminds me of George H.W. Bush blurting out his cue card in the 1992 New Hampshire primary: "Message: I care." https://t.co/WESkRNqfxG— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) February 22, 2018
George H.W. Bush once was mocked mercilessly for saying "Message: I care."— Ed Bott (@edbott) February 21, 2018
This seems worse. https://t.co/EB8MRqe7E3
Attendees of Wednesday’s session included survivors of last Tuesday’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., as well as parents of those killed in school shootings in Newtown, Conn., and Columbine, Colo.