Former Congressman David Jolly appeared on “MSNBC Live” Tuesday to applaud Harvard’s decision to rescind its offer of admission to Parkland shooting survivor Kyle Kasuv because of racist and anti-Semitic statements he made in private communications in 2016 that were leaked to the media. But Jolly went even further, saying that Kasuv might be at risk for becoming a mass shooter and suggesting that he perhaps should not be allowed to purchase a firearm.
Asked if there might be a political motive behind Harvard’s decision in light of Kasuv’s pro-Second Amendment activism since the Parkland shooting, Jolly said, “I don’t… I take a much harder line on this. I think this is the perfect story for our time… I think it’s important for Harvard to say, ‘not in our community,'” when it comes to applicants’ past statements.”
Jolly said that when he first heard Kashuv’s racist statements he considered that “perhaps a young man deserves redemption.” Jolly quickly discarded that notion, saying that “This story is greater than Harvard” because of the young man’s racist and anti-Semitic statements and because he “referred to one of these shoot-em-up video games and suggested that they should put a map of that on his high school,” according to private documents attributed to Kashuv that were leaked to HuffPo.
In a series of tweets on Monday Kashuv admitted that his comments were “offensive,” “inflammatory,” and “idiotic,” but said the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had changed him.
“Well, at that time, it was really a friend group on who can say the most shocking thing, the most extreme thing for the sake of shock value,” Kashuv told Fox News’ Ed Henry in an interview. “I’m extremely sorry for it and I wish I could take it back but I can’t.”
“All I can do now is seek to right the wrong. And I know forgiveness isn’t given, it’s earned. I know that the person who wrote those things is not who I am today,” Kashuv said in the interview. When asked by Henry why people should believe he’s changed, the Parkland graduate explained, “It’s because I matured tremendously. I no longer am in the friend group where we act immaturely, like idiotic children. It’s the fact that I have condemned racism in every opportunity that I can in this public life that I didn’t really ask for.”
“I never wanted and never quite frankly wanted to be in the position,” the 18-year-old said. “I’m not an entertainer, I’m not an actor. I’m a kid who went through a tragedy who saw the suffering that his community went through and doesn’t want to see it for any other community.”
His apology hasn’t stopped the mob from going after him because, as David French wrote at National Review on Monday, “in today’s post-Christian, allegedly more-tolerant culture, apologies are not enough. He has to be punished.”
In Jolly’s view, Kashuv may even be dangerous and a risk to society. “My immediate reaction when I really dug into this is these are the social media postings we see of a shooter and we ask, ‘where were the signs?’ ‘see something, say something.’ And then we go back and we see social media posts and this is exactly what we see,” he said.
“I understand the sensitivity we see toward this young man because of Parkland. I’m not a mental health professional to assess him on those grounds,” the Republican congressman-turned-Independent-turned MSNBC star said, but he went on to assesss Kashuv’s mental health anyway. MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle, who seemed genuinely astonished at Jolly’s over-the-top rhetoric, suggested that he might be going too far with his line of reasoning and offered him the opportunity to dig himself out of the hole he had dug for himself.
But Jolly refused to walk back his scurrilous veiled accusations and went even further: “If an incident were to happen—and again, I’m not saying that it will with this young man—but these are the exact posts we find of people, particularly people who advocate for stronger gun rights,” he continued. In other words, not only is Kashuv at risk for becoming a mass shooter but so are all gun rights advocates.
Complaining that Kashuv had been given an audience with the president, the vice president, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, and the NRA, he said, “You have to question, how do we promote somebody with these social media posts in their background?” he asked.
Oh, I don’t know, maybe that’s a question for the Secret Service, who didn’t see a problem with Kashuv sitting in the Oval Office with the president and first lady and chatting up the vice president.
“The young man deserves redemption,” Jolly conceded, but then went on to insist that “he also deserves a closer look, to whether, with somebody with this profile to be able to purchase a firearm under the gun laws in the United States.”
Jolly’s supposition—that no one who has said anything offensive in their life should be allowed to own a gun—is absurd on its face, but no one ever accused anti-gun zealots of being logical or coherent. If the only people who are allowed to buy guns in this country are individuals who have never, not even once, said anything offensive, even as a minor, then we are in big trouble.
You want more Trump, leftists? This is how you get it, by suggesting that a kid who said something stupid when he was 16—and by extention, all law-abiding gun owners—are destined to become mass shooters and should, therefore, be stripped of their Second Amendment rights. Keep up the good work!
Follow me on Twitter @pbolyard