First lady Melania Trump hosted a survivor of the Florida high school shooting on Thursday, before later surprising the 16-year-old with a visit to President Trump in the Oval Office. Kyle Kashuv, a Trump supporter and Republican, has said that since the Valentine’s Day attack on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School — which he survived by hiding in a classroom closet — he had reconsidered his prior stance that the Second Amendment entitled all Americans to gun ownership.
“Previously I believed that everyone under the Constitution should be allowed to have guns, but I now realize that not everyone should have guns and we should have way stricter background checks and mental evaluations,” said Kashuv. “We need to have a middle ground and have some reform.”
— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) March 8, 2018
In his meeting with the first lady, Kashuv explained that he had begun promoting the app ReachOut, which provides information and other forms of guidance and help for students suffering from emotional or mental problems. In recent days, Kashuv has also met with lawmakers in D.C. in an effort to encourage gun control reform.
Wonderful to meet @KyleKashuv today. His message of unity is one we should all share. Thank you for visiting us at the @WhiteHouse & hope you enjoyed your surprise meeting with @potus! Wishing you much success w @TheReachOutApp. pic.twitter.com/K4aGydo1uX
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) March 8, 2018
After his meeting, he elaborated in an interview with The Washington Post on how the two sides on the gun debate need to look for a way to compromise. “The initial movement, in its purest form, was amazing,” Kashuv said. “It got corrupted because now it’s represented as anti-gun and anti-NRA. ‘Boycott this, boycott that.’ It’s detracting from the actual discussions.”
The president and first lady aren’t the only influential figures Kashuv met with during his visit to the nation’s capital. According to the Post, he also met with five senators and the Speaker of the House, among others.