We’ve said it before and we’ll say it yet again because so few people have caught on. Don’t pay attention to what President Trump says about gun control (or any other subject, really). Pay attention to what he does.
Yet what he said yesterday has the congressional civilian disarmament caucus — led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer — all in a tizzy.
As Trump prepared to board Air Force 1 yesterday, he was asked about Congress pushing through universal background checks.
That seems to be a distinct softening of his earlier position when, in the days after the El Paso and Dayton shootings, he said this:
The apparent walk-back hasn’t pleased Schumer at all, as you might imagine. It’s always dicey trying to analyze Trump’s comments, but it would appear that someone has impressed upon him how damaging a betrayal of his pro-gun base would be to his reelection prospects.
From Politico, Schumer had this to say . . .
“We’ve seen this movie before: President Trump, feeling public pressure in the immediate aftermath of a horrible shooting, talks about doing something meaningful to address gun violence, but inevitably, he backtracks in response to pressure from the NRA and the hard right,” Schumer said on Monday afternoon. “These retreats from President Trump are not only disappointing but also heartbreaking, particularly for the families of the victims of gun violence.”
Rule of thumb: anything that disappoints Chuck Schumer is generally a good thing for individual freedom.
Swamp-watchers have posited that the only way anything will happen on gun control in the Senate is if Trump provides political cover with his strong support.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has expressed openness to a gun debate in the Senate, but it’s possible that work on spending bills could sideline the firearm issue, particularly if Trump is lukewarm. The House passed a universal background checks bill earlier this year and Schumer is urging McConnell to bring it to a Senate vote.
“The way forward is for Sen. McConnell to put the bipartisan House-passed universal background checks bill on the Senate floor for a vote immediately,” Schumer said on Monday.
Yet that bill will struggle to attract 50 votes, much less the 60 needed to break a filibuster. Collins opposes it because it doesn’t include enough exemptions for transfers to family members, essentially guaranteeing it would not pass the Senate.
“You’re really going to go to your adult child and have to do a background check? People in Maine are very sensible and they know it doesn’t make sense,” Collins said in a recent interview.
When you can’t get even a squish like Susan Collins to support your gun control bill, its prospects for passage aren’t particularly bright.