Republicans have resorted to smearing students for taking on gun violence.
Desperately trying to undercut the emerging gun safety grassroots movement that's spreading in the wake of last week's school massacre in Parkland, Florida, Trump surrogate Jack Kingston got smacked down for claiming students there have become pawns of "political operatives."
Brandon Abzug, a student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, refuted Kingston's claim on CNN Tuesday.
"I think it's very despicable that he would even have the audacity to say that. Young people all across this country and the world should feel they have the power to make things right," Abzug stressed. "And especially in the wake of a tragedy we really show who we truly are. So to say that just because we're young we can't make a difference is not right and he should apologize for that."
Kingston, a former Republican congressman, became the latest Trump ally who has tried to delegitimize the students in Florida, and around the country, who are leading a national debate about gun violence.
Seventeen students and teachers were killed last week, when a former student returned to the school and opened fire with an AR-15.
Unwilling to debate the students on the merits, right-wing operatives are trying to smear the survivors online. Some are concocting conspiracies about their families. Others, like Kingston, peddled the condescending idea that the students are dupes.
"Their sorrow can very easily be hijacked by leftwing group who have an agenda," said Kingston. "Do we really think 17-year-olds on their own are going to plan a nationwide rally? I would say to you very plainly that organized groups that are out there, like George Soros, are always ready to take the charge and it's kind of like instant rally, instant protest."
Kingston made a similar claim over the weekend, implying students were being manipulated by "#Soros #Resistance #Antifa #DNC."
Not only did student Abzug denounce Kingston's claim, but so did the student's father, Mark Abzug, who dismissed the idea that the passionate students are pawns.
"Not a chance. These students are motivated. These students are intelligent. They only motivation they have to making change. They haven't been contacted by any operatives," he said. "They are doing this on their own with the support their families and the people who love them."
And that's precisely what Republicans are afraid of.