It’s a clear reaction from senators being burned so often and so badly by Trump. After having tried to guess where the president might land on a given policy dispute only to see him derail their plans, this time, they’re taking no chances of reliving the trauma.
“First time ever in history when the president sets the agenda every day when he tweets at 4 in the morning,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), who is retiring at the end of the year and saw his work on an immigration bill fall apart last year after Trump came out against it. “Pelosi will drive some trains, Mitch will drive others. And the president is going to drive ones he wants to drive.”
The dynamic is a reflection not just of Trump’s mercurial nature but of how sensitive the issue of gun control is. Republican senators are loath to get crosswise with conservative activists if they don’t have cover from the president on proposals many have previously rejected. Even some Democrats acknowledge that if they really want to see something passed, Trump is going to have to make the first move.