In a perfect world, a live feed of the faces of all the 2nd Amendment purists I know would be transmitted to my laptop just as President Trump uttered the following sacrilege: “Take the guns first, go through due process second.”
Trump’s comments came during a bipartisan meeting with lawmakers this Wednesday as the group discussed possible solutions to school security and gun violence in America. During the discussion, Vice President Mike Pence suggested confiscating guns from those who are a “danger to themselves or others,” but made sure to say that due process should be adhered to first so “no one’s rights are trampled.”
But to the horror of gun rights enthusiasts everywhere, Trump chimed in, saying, “Or .. take the firearms first, and then go to court. Because that’s another system. Because a lot of times, by the time you go to court, it takes so long to go to court, to get the due process procedures.”
“I like taking the guns early,” he continued. “Like in this crazy man’s case that just took place in Florida … To go to court would have taken a long time. So you could do exactly what you’re saying, but take the guns first, go through due process second.”
— CNN (@CNN) February 28, 2018
Trump completely abandoning a core principle of his base most likely won’t turn into policy. According to the Daily Beast, White House officials are already preparing “clarifications” for the very likely event that reporters will follow up on his comments. But the surreal news that came from that White House meeting strikes at a core question surrounding the shit show that occupies the presidency: What does Trump believe, if anything?
In 2016, the NRA endorsed Trump, and like clockwork, he commenced to framing his opponent Hillary Clinton as someone who would be a tyrannical gun grabber, just as the pro-gun contingent did to Obama in the run-up to his election. Writing in the Libertarian publication Reason, Nick Gillespie called Trump’s comments his “Nixon-goes-to-China” moment.
Is this truly a Nixon-Goes-To-China moment, in which the Republican Trump, who also said today that he “loves the Second Amendment,” will restrict gun ownership more than any president since Bill Clinton signed the assault-weapons ban into law in 1994? That remains to be seen, as Trump has double-reversed course in the past, such as when he agreed to legalize “Dreamers” in a deal with Democratic lawmakers before changing his mind. In the meantime, Trump’s criticism of the NRA and embrace of gun control is leaving progressives as bewildered as it is making conservatives angry as hell.
The NRA did not deserve the media and far-left smears it has faced over the last week, but it completely deserved today's betrayal from Trump.
They chose to move from a bipartisan gun safety org to a partisan Pro-Trump org fighting the culture war. This is the result.
— (((AG))) (@AG_Conservative) February 28, 2018
Has any conservative org been more aggressively supportive of Trump than the NRA? Yet today he:
-Seemed open to assault weapons ban;
-Scorned concealed-carry reciprocity;
-Mocked Republicans for being afraid of the NRA;
-Advocated seizure of weapons without due process
— David French (@DavidAFrench) February 28, 2018
There are two issues where Trump's base isn't going to tolerate him undercutting their agenda. One is gun rights. The other is abortion.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) February 28, 2018
The NRA really look like a bunch of chumps for backing Trump so strongly now. I told NRA board members ahead of 2016 that he was not a safe bet. This is just another reason why I prefer GOA to NRA. @EWErickson
— Liz Mair (@LizMair) February 28, 2018
After the meeting, Sen. Chris Murphy recounted how Trump asked the group of lawmakers why nothing has happened when it comes to new gun legislation.
“The reason why nothing has happened is because Republicans have given the NRA veto power on background-checks legislation,” Murphy said to the Daily Beast. “If the president is the deal maker, the closer that he claims to be, then he will deliver Republican votes on a background checks bill.”
Either way, the lesson that Trumpkins will never learn is clear: Don’t throw your unwavering support behind a man who has no idea what he believes. That being said, cautious celebration should be in order for the fact that Trump said something reasonable.
Featured image via screen grab