In the wake of Parkland, support for gun control soared among many segments of the population. However, President Donald Trump didn’t immediately step up and support gun control of any kind.
Now, that’s not overly surprising. Republicans tend to look elsewhere for solutions to things like this.
But a new book is claiming that Trump gave the NRA “veto power” over the administration’s response to Parkland.
In the immediate wake of the 2018 Parkland massacre, in which a 19-year-old walked into a Florida school and murdered 17 people, then president Donald Trump shocked Republicans with a series of statements in which he appeared to actually endorse doing something about gun violence. “You saw the president clearly saying not once, not twice, not three times, but, like, 10 times, that he wanted to see a strong universal background check bill,” Senator Amy Klobuchar said at the time. “He didn’t mince words about it.”
In the end, of course, he did jack shit to get a universal background check bill passed, an about-face that can probably be attributed in part to the fact that Trump was reportedly being advised on gun control by his eldest son, who famously gets his kicks hunting endangered species and posing for photos alongside his victims. Another thing that probably played a part? Trump’s well-known fealty to the National Rifle Association, which spent more than $30 million to help get him elected in 2016. According to a new report, that money effectively bought the organization “veto power” when it came to even the smallest effort to address gun violence.
You can read the whole thing if you want to, but basically, the gist is that Trump was terrified of losing NRA support, so he allowed the group a say in what the eventual response would be.
This, of course, is treated like something horrible that would never happen under a Democrat.
And that’s true. A Democratic president would never consult the NRA on gun control legislation.
They’d go to someone like Everytown, Brady, or Giffords.
See, while this is treated like some horrible breech of decorum, this is actually pretty normal in politics. Officials get elected with the help of various special interest groups, including gun rights and gun control organizations, then consult them when deciding what kind of legislation to pass.
The NRA simply argued that they couldn’t support universal background checks or any of the other things being considered then, which meant Trump had to decide if he really wanted to pass those measures or if he really wanted to continue getting support from the NRA.
What we often find among people like the writer at Vanity Fair and others in the media is that they have a different set of rules for pro-gun people versus anti-gun folks. Gun control groups can do no wrong. When they spend millions of dollars in ad buys, it’s a principled stand for what is right. When they donate millions to candidates, it’s an investment in the safety of the nation.
When the NRA does literally any of that, they’re trying to buy an election or a candidate.
It’s considered acceptable when one side does it, unacceptable when another.
Had this story been Brady basically writing legislation for the Trump administration, it would read very differently. It would be approving, even if they despise Trump. It would be presented as a moment of sanity or something.
It’s not that a special interest group got a say, it’s that the wrong special interest group got a say and we all know it.