Over the weekend, President Obama announced plans to take executive action on gun policy, and met with Attorney General Loretta Lynch Monday morning to explore the authorities he might have at his disposal. One such action involves extending background checks to so-called “private sales,” which was a key provision of the legislation that Republicans filibustered in the wake of the Newtown massacre. On Monday morning’s New Day, Donald Trump appeared to agree with President Obama on the need to close the gun show loophole, while deriding the President for taking executive action.
Trump began with the familiar flurry of talking points, but when Cuomo drilled down on the gun show loophole, Trump was supportive of the policy, as long as it’s taken up by Congress:
Cuomo: When you go to one of the shows, there’s a lot of private-to-private sellers as opposed to someone who is a dealer. They get to transfer arms in a way you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. He’s saying make it uniform, same background check that applies when you go to the gun shop should apply when they go to the gun show.
Trump: I want see what he says, why he couldn’t get this approved by Congress. Why can’t he go in and get this approved? You do have to ask that question, Chris. Why can’t you, if something is seemingly cut and dry as you like to say it is, why can’t the system work the way it was supposed to be, you know, the way it was supposed to be working, the way it was designed. Why isn’t he getting Republicans and Democrats together and doing something? He keeps signing executive orders because he doesn’t meet with people. Maybe he doesn’t like people, I guess. I’m sure maybe they could come up with some kind of a plan. Don’t you think he should do this with Congress? I don’t think he works very hard at it.
That was a nice little racist dig at the end there, which he expanded on as the interview progressed by stressing how Obama just doesn’t want to work hard to pass gun legislation. Perhaps Trump is unaware of the painstaking compromise background check legislation that President Obama worked hard on in 2013, which was voted “yes” on by a clear majority of U.S. Senators, but which was filibustered by Republicans and four Democrats. President Obama did exactly what Trump says he didn’t.
But more significant is the fact that Trump has no problem with the policy, because that makes him now the third Republican candidate in two days to express support for President Obama’s gun policies, while trashing him on the process. On this week’s Fox News Sunday, Republican presidential nopeful and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie repeated a popular coded method of calling President Obama “boy” for not knowing his place, and trying to do some presidenting around the issue of guns:
Wallace: President Obama is expected to announce executive action on new gun controls this week to expand background checks, and also to bar more accused domestic abusers from being able to buy guns. Your reaction to that?
Christie: This President is a petulant child. Whenever he can’t get what he wants, because frankly, the American people have rejected his agenda by turning over the House and the Senate to Republicans, going from 21 Republican governors when he came into office, now 31, now he wants to act as a king. The fact is if he wants to make changes to these laws, go to congress and convince congress they’re necessary, but this is going to be another illegal executive action which I’m sure will be rejected by the courts. When I become president, they will be stricken from executive action by executive action I will take.
Keep in mind, Christie has no idea what actions Obama will take, let alone their potential legality. Speaking of petulance, Christie went on to say that he actually supports the restriction on guns to terror watch suspects, he just apparently wants Obama to wait for hell to freeze over to do anything about it. Leadership!
Coincidentally, another Republican candidate appeared with Wallace to agree with Obama on the policy, in this case keeping guns away from accused domestic abusers, but was equally sure that the executive actions he hasn’t seen would definitely be illegal.
Wallace: Basically you’re saying you agree —
Bush: No, because he can’t do it by executive order.
Wallace: I understand you don’t like the process.
Bush: I got it signed into law, and people are safer because of it.
This is to be expected from Republicans, who have acted in nothing but bad faith since Obama was elected, but what’s maddening is that these journalists don’t call them on it. Chris Cuomo did a good job at wearing Trump down on background checks, but then failed to stick the landing by reminding Trump that President Obama, and many others, did work hard and did secure enough votes to pass a bill, but were blocked by Republicans.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.