Hey, he never promised you a Rose Garden … ceremony. After publicly endorsing the expansion of background checks for firearms sales, Donald Trump has reversed himself after hearing from Republican allies and NRA chief Wayne LaPierre. However, that doesn’t mean that Trump won’t pursue other changes in the wake of two mass shootings:
President Trump talked Tuesday with National Rifle Association chief executive Wayne LaPierre and assured him that universal background checks were off the table, according to several people familiar with the call.At the time, reports emerged that Trump had bought into the idea of getting expanded background checks passed that he had already begun planning a Rose Garden ceremony. That idea got planted in Trump’s head by his daughter Ivanka, according to the Atlantic, and it took some effort to unplant it:
Trump told LaPierre that the White House remained interested in proposals that would address weapons getting into the hands of the mentally ill, including the possibility of backing so-called “red flag” laws that would allow the police to temporarily confiscate guns from people who have been shown to be a danger to themselves or others.
Nonetheless, the president’s conversation with LaPierre, which was first reported by the Atlantic, further reduced hopes that major new gun-safety measures will be enacted after the latest round of mass shootings.
His daughter and senior adviser, Ivanka Trump, had proposed the idea of a televised Rose Garden appearance as a way to nudge her father toward supporting universal background checks. The president had recently suggested he was open to the gun-control measure, tweeting, “Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform.” To be sure, this was similar to how he’d responded to other mass shootings during his 31-month presidency, and each time, the push for action fizzled. But the prospect of a Rose Garden ceremony, his daughter thought, where Trump could sign a document and call it “historic” and “unprecedented”—and receive positive media attention—might be the best chance of yielding real change.Expect to hear plenty about the NRA’s influence from critics today, but that will miss the point. Trump might have been willing to cross the NRA — in fact, he might still be willing to do so on other points, such as red-flag laws. Trump changed his mind when he saw that he had no support for expanded background checks from his own party, CNN reports this morning...
For a moment, it looked like it just might work. “He loved it. He was all spun up about it,” said a former senior White House official who, like others interviewed for this story, spoke with me on the condition of anonymity in order to share private conversations. On August 7, the president picked up the phone to discuss the idea with Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the National Rifle Association. “It’s going to be great, Wayne,” Trump said, according to both a former senior White House official and an NRA official briefed on the call. “They will love us.” And if they—meaning the roughly 5 million people who make up the NRA’s active membership, and some of Trump’s electoral base—didn’t, Trump reportedly assured LaPierre, “I’ll give you cover.” (The White House did not return a request for comment for this story.)
“Wayne’s listening to that and thinking, Uh, no, Mr. President, we give you cover,” the former senior White House official said in describing the conversation. The president reportedly asked LaPierre whether the NRA was willing to give in at all on background checks. LaPierre’s response, the sources said, was unequivocal: “No.” With that, “the Rose Garden fantasy,” as the NRA official described it to me, was scrapped as quickly as it had been dreamed up.
That makes Trump’s initial embrace of expanded background checks rather foolish, and should call into question the wisdom of having Ivanka as a political adviser. These political calculations were obvious from the very start and should have been considered before going public. Rather than provide a consistent approach to leadership in the wake of the shooting, Trump has made himself look tentative and defensive, not to mention under the thrall of special-interest groups.
...CNN’s interpretation makes sense, too, as both CNN and the Washington Post report that Trump seems ready to move forward with red-flag laws. The NRA opposes those in practice (although not in theory), but they have much more support within the GOP than the largely non-responsive expanded background checks. Red-flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection order laws or ERPOs, are also more popular among Republican voters in a new poll noted by NPR
...There are some serious concerns over due process with red-flag laws, but those could get worked out in the statutes.
She has also pushed for affordable childcare, equal pay for women and paid family leave. President Trump has said she is "like a Democrat" and Ivanka has referred to herself as a "moderating influence" in the administration.Even before her father’s inauguration, Ivanka Trump had singled out environmental regulation as a primary policy focus. In December of 2016 during her father’s presidential transition, she brought former Vice President Al Gore, a leading environmental activist, to meet Trump to discuss climate change. Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, have in the past donated or raised money for Democratic candidates and are often seen as championing issues traditionally considered liberal, including environmental protection and climate change mitigation. Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement is seen by some as a defeat for the first daughter and advisor to the president in her battle for clout in the White House. But Monday’s speech may indicate that Ivanka Trump's influence on this issue is growing, and environmental protection may end up becoming another item on her already extensive portfolio ranging from job creation, fighting human-trafficking, and empowering women around the world.