WASHINGTON — The daughter of the Sandy Hook Elementary School principal who was killed at Newtown told CNN Bernie Sanders owes victims’ relatives an “apology for putting the gun lobby above our families.”
Erica Smegielski, a 30-year-old Hillary Clinton supporter, tweeted “shame on you, @BernieSanders” Tuesday after he told The New York Daily News he would not have supported the victims suing the gun manufacturers.
“Shame on you, @BernieSanders try living one hour of our lives. Love, the #SandyHook Principal’s Daughter,” Smegielski wrote, linking to the The Daily News front page, blaring “Bernie’s Sandy Hook shame.”
— Erica Lafferty Garbatini (@ELaffGarb) April 6, 2016
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) April 6, 2016
Sanders was asked by the Daily News whether family members of the Sandy Hook victims should be allowed to sue gun manufacturers, and he responded, “No, I don’t.”
“But I do believe that gun manufacturers and gun dealers should be able to be sued when they should know that guns are going into the hands of the wrong people,” Sanders added.
Smegielski, who still lives in Connecticut and is going to school for political organizing, told CNN her experience losing her mother has turned her into a “single issue voter, I believe, for obvious reasons.”
“He owes families like mine and families involved in the lawsuit an apology because he really has had a callous dismissal of our concerns and our fight for justice. He is picking the gun lobby over our families,” Smegielski said of the Vermont senator.
She added, “This is a man who has prided himself on standing up to the big guys on behalf of the little guys for years, but he is not doing that for victims of gun violence.”
CNN has reached out to the Sanders campaign for a response to Smegielski’s comments. Michael Briggs, Sanders’ campaign spokesman, responded to Smegielski’s tweet Tuesday by defending the Vermont senator’s record on guns.
“He supports President Obama’s efforts to end gun violence. He voted for the legislation considered by the Senate after Sandy Hook. He has a clear and consistent record on the issue,” he said in an email.
Since her tweet Tuesday night, Smegielski said she has received a stream of tweets criticizing her for attacking Sanders and accusing her of being used as a political tool.
The Clinton campaign emailed out the full transcript of the interview Tuesday, shortly before Sanders won the Wisconsin primary.
On Tuesday afternoon Clinton herself tweeted in support of Smegielski.
“@EricaSmegs remember, any hateful comments are just noise compared to your voice for change. With you in the fight to stop gun violence. -H”.
@EricaSmegs remember, any hateful comments are just noise compared to your voice for change. With you in the fight to stop gun violence. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 6, 2016