President Donald Trump has remained silent about his relationship with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, refusing to denounce the right-wing radio show host who has used his popular platform InfoWars to push the theory that the deadly 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in Newton, Conn., was a vast government plot to enact stricter gun control laws.
Trump's silence comes despite a letter sent by the Newton School Board six weeks ago requesting that the president publicly denounce Jones and the conspiracy theory that has resulted in stalking, death threats, and harassment of victims' families, the Hartford Courant reported Tuesday.
"We are asking you to intervene to try to stop [Alex] Jones and other hoaxers like him," the board wrote in its February 20 letter, according to the Courant. "We are asking you to acknowledge the tragedy from 12/14/12 and to denounce anyone spreading lies and conspiracy theories about the tragedy on that December morning."
"Jones repeatedly tells his listeners and viewers that he has your ears and your respect," the letter continues. "He brags about how you called him after your victory in November. He continues to hurt the memories of those lost, the ability of those left behind to heal."
Indeed, victims' families have repeatedly asked Trump to denounce his ties to Jones and the conspiracy theory about their relatives' deaths, which has led to seemingly endless harassment from strangers around the world, compounding the pain from the shooting.
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"My sister was murdered 11 days before Christmas and I consider myself lucky because I don't have a stalker," the sister of a victim told the BBC. "That's the situation I'm in right now."
"Conspiracy theorists erase the human aspect of history," said the father of a victim to New York Magazine. "My child—who lived, who was a real person—is basically going to be erased."
Despite some family members' attempts to speak out and quell the conspiracists, the hoax continues. The board has therefore asked Trump to:
- Recognize that 20 children and six adults were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012.
- Denounce any and all who spread lies that the tragedy was a hoax.
- Remove your support from anyone who continues to insist that the tragedy was staged or not real.
"Our hope is that we would be able to get a response [from the White House]," said Eric Paradis, chairman of the Newtown Democratic town committee, to the Courant. "The hope is that [Trump] would be able to say that what happened on 12/14 was real and for the hoaxers to leave people alone. They're still out there attacking family members."
"At this point, we have not had a response from the White House to the letter that was sent," school board chairman Keith Alexander told the newspaper.