It was one of your typical Trump meetings -- that is to say, rambling, often incoherent and inconsistent, with Trump making outrageous statements that often left lawmakers stunned.
But it does appear that Trump is determined to get some kind of gun control legislation passed, and at this point, it doesn't much matter what. Because for the first time, a Republican president has openly urged his caucus to ignore the NRA. And in the midst of all the corruption, fraud, and ethical nightmares this administration has wrought, I see this tiny glimmer of hope. Via the Washington Post:
In an exchange with Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.), Trump seemed to not know what was contained in the bill Toomey proposed with Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) after the 2012 tragedy at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. Trump asked whether the bill, which was focused on background checks, would have raised the age limit for buying assault weapons.
When Toomey said it did not, Trump shot back: “You know why? Because you're afraid of the NRA.”
The rejoinder was especially odd, given that Toomey was one of few Republicans who supported his background checks bill, which failed, over the objections of the NRA. It also happens to confirm the argument Democrats regularly make against Republicans. Trump would later go on to say some of the members in the meeting were “petrified” of the NRA.
“They have great power over you people,” Trump said. “They have less power over me.”
The looks on those Republican faces! Personally, I think some Republicans really do want to do something about guns, and resent the box that NRA support puts them in. You could tell at least some of them were warming to the idea of crafting actual solutions.
If we know one thing about Donald Trump, it's that he wants to be loved. At this point, he seems willing to do something that people actually want: gun control. If he manages to break this ideological logjam, he deserves the credit.
They can put it on his golden tombstone: "Impeached 2019 -- but at least he tried to do something about guns."