After criticizing the “finger pointing” that takes place after mass shootings like the attack at a Florida high school Wednesday, Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos urged Congress to take the “lead” on enacting changes that could stop gun massacres in the U.S. “It’s their job,” she claimed.
“We’ve seen, you know, lots of finger pointing back and forth,” she said during an interview with conservative radio personality Hugh Hewitt. “But we need to have a conversation at the level where lawmakers can actually impact the future, because going back and putting myself in the seat of one of those families impacted, you know, one of these shootings is one too many. And we have got to have an honest conversation and Congress has to lead on this. It’s their job.”
DeVos also said that there have been “far too many” of these “situations” before, and reiterated her opinion that it was Congress’s responsibility to curtail school shootings.
“Congress needs to be holding hearings on these issues. And we’ve seen lots of discussion about this every time we’ve had another incident,” she said. DeVos’s call for congressional action echoed statements earlier Thursday by another member of the administration, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who also suggested Congress should take action to address mass shootings without specifying what form that action should take.
DeVos also told Hewitt that law enforcement needs to do more to track people with early warning signs of disturbing behavior, another stance that members of the Trump administration have repeated in the wake of the shooting Wednesday that left 17 dead. According to CNN, the FBI was given a tip in September about a person with the same YouTube username as the alleged shooter who made a comment on a video saying “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”
“There apparently were lots of signs and I think it’s critically important that we have a much more robust conversation around tracking and tackling mental health issues and really bringing this all together because it seems to be clear that this young man put up lots and lots of signals and warning signs,” DeVos said.
On Thursday morning, Trump said that there were “many signs” that the alleged shooter was “mentally disturbed” and urged people to report “such instances” to law enforcement.
Listen to the full interview with DeVos here.