Just days after President Donald Trump appeared to support a litany of gun control proposals pitched to him by Democrats, the National Rifle Association stepped in to assert that it’s definitely still running the show when it comes to this administration’s attitude on guns.
The NRA’s chief lobbyist, Chris Cox, met with Trump and Mike Pence in the Oval Office on Thursday night. Cox emerged from the meeting all smiles:
What’s that America? You actually thought Trump was serious about an assault rifle ban, expanded background checks, and protections for victims of domestic assault from gun violence? Think again.
The White House quickly fell in line, spending much of early Friday morning walking back the president’s seeming enthusiasm for gun control.
Asked by reporters whether Trump made any promises to the NRA during the meeting, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted, “Only that he’ll continue to support the Second Amendment, that’s not something that he’s backed away from.”
Later, pressed on whether Trump still wanted to raise the age limit for gun purchases, Sanders offered this dodge: “Conceptually, he still supports raising the age to 21. But he also knows there’s not a lot of broad support for that. But that’s something he would support.”
Oh, and those universal background checks he seemed so enthusiastic about? The kind which would close loopholes that let people walk in off the street and buy high-powered assault rifles, no questions asked? Here’s Sanders: “Not necessarily universal background checks, but certainly improving the background check system. He wants to see what that legislation, the final piece of it looks like. Universal means something different to a lot of people.”
If only we could all agree on what “universal” means. Alas.
Even the president himself confirmed his fealty to the gun lobby he’d declared had no influence over him just days earlier.
Not that any of this should come as a shock. It’s laughable to think Trump has a coherent position on anything, except maybe racism. But still, the speed and decisiveness with which the NRA asserted its dominance over this administration is notable.