The Corner

White House

Why? Why? Why?

Those are three good questions to ask about Trump’s statements at his gun meeting in the White House. This is not just failing to look a year ahead, a month ahead, or a week ahead; it’s a failure to look about 12 hours ahead. There is no way Trump wasn’t going to have to walk back what he said, but he is evidently overwhelmingly concerned with winning the room at the moment. The consequence of having to take it back is that it further undermines his credibility, and makes it seems like he’s being led around by the nose by the NRA, which is not good for him or for the NRA.

If Trump were truly serious about following through on his gun-control statements, he’d have to be willing and able to find serious partners across the aisle; defy part of his political base; cajole and bully Ryan and McConnell; make a veto threat for any bill he considered inadequate; be willing to lose if it came to that; and work this issue intensely without his usual allies on Capitol Hill doing any of the heavy lifting. How likely is any of that?

As Dan McLaughlin noted on The Editors this week, the calculation might change on these sort of things if Democrats take Congress. But, even in that case, he will probably be too busy fighting off subpoenas or impeachment to make any true bipartisan departures. This is why his only real path to heterodoxy is unilateral action, like on trade.

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