Two clips from this afternoon’s unusual, sometimes riveting confab between Trump and Pence and shooting victims, some from Stoneman Douglas High School. It’s not often POTUS gets some respect from the media, particularly when the topic involves guns, but lo and behold:
Much credit to the White House: This is not a photo-op. It's an actual discussion.
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) February 21, 2018
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) February 21, 2018
Which is, uh, not to say that everyone liked it:
Frame it however you like, this White House "listening session" is an organized institutional cover up for gun lobby–to blunt criticism, pay lip service and do as little as possible to protect the children and people of America. It is murder in a gilded setting.
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) February 21, 2018
The most unusual part is that Trump let the media air the entire thing, which seems like a minor stroke of brilliance with hindsight. Given the “with us or against us” tenor of some of the students’ comments this week, there was every reason to expect someone would seize the opportunity to lambaste Trump as a “murderer” here or whatever. Instead everyone was respectful and POTUS got to telegraph his concern. Pretty good politics.
But maybe not long-term. Most of the left suspects, naturally, that this was a photo op and little more. Trump has already called for banning bump stocks and is apparently interested in barring under-21’s from buying “assault weapons,” even hinting at it during this event. He also promised at the end to be “very strong on background checks,” which may or may not give Pat Toomey’s failed background checks bill after Sandy Hook enough momentum to clear the House and Senate this time. But none of it will be enough for his critics. Watch Sam Zeif, a Stoneman Douglas, end his pitch to Trump in the first clip below by reminding him that Australia solved its mass-shooting problem quite efficiently. Right — they confiscated guns via a mandatory buyback. That’s the magnitude of the solution that the left has in mind, not expanded background checks that might not have done anything to stop the Parkland shooter.
A basic yardstick Trump’s critics will use to measure him going forward is: Would any of his proposals have conceivably taken the gun out of the Parkland maniac’s hand? A bump-stock ban wouldn’t. Expanded background checks *might*, depending upon how expansive they get and how the courts react. A law banning adults younger than 21 from buying AR-15s would have. Maybe he’ll get one or more of those through, but none of them will do anything dramatic to deter future mass shootings, especially by older adults. And now, when the next one happens, his detractors will point back to this event and say, “He didn’t listen at all. It was all a fraud.” If you won’t give them mass confiscation, well, you’re not really doing much of anything, are you?
Two clips for your here, one of Zeif and the other of the father of a girl murdered last week in Parkland.
"I lost a best friend. … I don't understand why I can can still go in a store and buy a weapon of war" Sam Zeif was on the second floor of the Parkland, Florida, school where 17 people died after a mass shooting. https://t.co/3j4r9cQ3Ko https://t.co/uTvMrOqvYC
— CNN (@CNN) February 21, 2018
This is hard, but necessary, to watch. pic.twitter.com/i4cYQlYftv
— Trey Yingst (@TreyYingst) February 21, 2018