MSNBC contributor David Jolly accused Parkland survivor Kyle Kashuv of showing the signs "of a school shooter," referring to racist posts the teenager put on social media as a 16-year-old.
Jolly's comments followed Harvard University's decision to revoke Kashuv's acceptance, which led critics to say that the decision was politically motivated by cries against Kashuv's support for Second Amendment rights.
"There are conservatives today who have cried foul over Harvard's decision, saying they are kow-towing to the left. Do you think there is any reason to question political move?" MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle asked Jolly Tuesday on MSNBC Live.
"I don't," Jolly replied. "Stephanie, I take a much harder line on this. I think this is the perfect story for our time, when within our culture, we have leaders who are giving greater permission to racist statements and to people with racist feelings, they are given greater equity. I think it is important for Harvard to say, not in our community. That is not a voice we are going to give equity in our diverse community."
Jolly said that he originally thought that Kashuv should be given a chance at "redemption," but after seeing the posts Kashuv made two years prior to the Parkland shooting—which included derogatory references to Jews and black people—Jolly changed his mind.
"My immediate reaction when I really dug into this, these are the social media postings we see of a shooter and we ask, 'Where were the signs?' See something, Say something," Jolly said. "We see a shooter, and then we go back and look at social media posts and this is exactly what we see. I understand the sensitivity of this man toward Parkland. I'm not a mental health professional to assess him on those grounds. But what I'm suggesting—"
"Is that too far?" Ruhle asked. "Can you make that a leap like that?"
"It is not. No. No, it is not Stephanie," Jolly replied. "If an incident were to occur—and I'm not saying it will with this young man—but these are the exact posts we find of people, particularly those who advocate for stronger gun rights, who has been given an audience with the President of the United States in the Oval Office, by Nikki Haley as well, by Vice President Mike Pence, who was an invited guest to a rally to speak for Matt Gaetz and Ron DeSantis, who was a speaker at the NRA recently."
Jolly said he questioned how people could promote someone like Kashuv, especially with the baggage of his social media posts.
"The young man deserves redemption," Jolly said, "But he also deserves a closer look if someone with this profile should be able to purchase a firearm under the gun laws in the United States. I commend Harvard for making this decision. I think it was a clear-cut decision, on their part: no controversy at all."
Kashuv apologized for his comments in May.
"This past year has forced me to mature and grow in an incredibly drastic way. My world, like everyone else's in Parkland, was turned upside down on February 14th. When your classmates, your teachers, and your neighbors are killed it transforms you as a human being," he wrote on Twitter. "I see the world through different eyes and am embarrassed by the petty, flippant kid represented in those screenshots. I believe those I've gotten to know since know that I'm a better person than that."
A quick note on callous comments I made a few years ago in high school that are circulating. pic.twitter.com/E6Ki6XIhtc
— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) May 23, 2019