Former Savannah Congressman Jack Kingston prompted a social media firestorm this week after he suggested the students protesting the lack of action on gun control legislation were being controlled by left-wing forces.
The criticism stemmed from a Sunday tweet from the onetime Georgia U.S. Senate candidate that indicated the Democratic mega-donor George Soros, the Democratic National Committee and the militant group Antifa were behind recent student protests over gun control.
“O really?” Kingston tweeted in response to a USA Today story about student rallies following last week’s mass shooting at a Florida high school. “‘Students’ are planning a nationwide rally? Not left wing gun control activists using 17yr kids in the wake of a horrible tragedy? #Soros #Resistance #Antifa #DNC”
Kingston doubled down on his remarks during an appearance Tuesday on CNN, where he’s a frequent commentator.
“Do we really think 17-year-olds, on their own, are going to plan a nationwide rally?" the former Trump campaign surrogate said.
His comments drew rebukes on both social media and CNN, where anchor Alisyn Camerota later interviewed two students who survived last week’s shooting, which left 17 of their Parkland, Fla., classmates dead.
"To say that just because we're young we can't make a difference is not right and he should apologize for that," Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Brandon Abzug said of Kingston.
"Young people all across this country and all over the world should feel that they have the power to make things right. And especially in the wake of a tragedy, we really show who we truly are,” he said.
Kingston, who left Congress in 2015 after decades in Washington, has adopted the pugnacious social media style of his ally in the White House in recent years.
“I’d say it’s more fun now that I can do things like Twitter and be a bit little more flippant on Facebook and certainly a little more partisan. I enjoy that freedom," Kingston said in an interview last year.