I haven’t paid as much attention to “sharpiegate” as I might if it actually mattered.  What a ridiculous tempest over pretty much nothing.  Can you imagine if the media went this insane every time Obama said something that was questionable, demonstrably wrong, or even a simple mistake?

We’d have been treated to eight years of blanket coverage of the “57 states” Obama claimed to have visited, to endless pronunciation lessons of the word “corpsman,” articles in the hundreds wondering if someone who thinks Austrians speak “Austrian” is fit to be president, and nonstop discussion of Obama’s lies about ObamaCare (not one dime, keep your doctor/plan).

That’s not touching on any of the actual scandals that plagued his administration and have yet to receive the media attention this “sharpiegate” thing has.  So, no, I’m not really worked up about the Alabama, Hurricane Dorian, sharpie thing.  Not a smidgen.

Something that could get me worked up, however, would be Trump abandoning his campaign promises—not to mention his oath of office—to protect the Second Amendment.

I don’t think he will, but there has been a lot of hand-wringing on the right over reports and rumors that the president is considering everything from expanded background checks to red flag laws to getting Google and Amazon to help identify potentially unstable gun owners.  All of which are, to varying degrees, alarming to #2a conservatives.

Trump met with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on Thursday to discuss legislative or policy responses to mass shootings, but according to reports, Trump has not made any decisions as yet.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

The 30-minute private meeting, which included several White House staffers, touched on a range of possible gun-related policy issues including background checks, the people said. Mr. Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, and Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) have long urged legislation expanding background checks for gun sales. Their bill failed to pass the Senate in 2013.

“The president expressed interest in getting a result, so conversations will continue to see if there’s a way to create a reasonable background check proposal, along with other ideas,” a White House official said.

But another person familiar with the meeting said the president didn’t give Sen. Manchin a clear signal, illustrating the widespread uncertainty on Capitol Hill about what Mr. Trump might support.

. . . . Lawmakers, and even some White House officials, remain skeptical that significant gun-control legislation can win congressional approval with the 2020 election looming. Some of the president’s advisers have cautioned him against taking aggressive steps in response to the shootings, arguing that such moves could reduce support among conservatives.

The president and his aides have discussed measures to improve background checks, empower law-enforcement officials to remove guns temporarily from people deemed dangerous, boost mental-health services and subject mass shooters to the death penalty, among other things. Mr. Trump hasn’t yet endorsed specific legislation, though White House officials have said they hope to move a package through Congress.

Democrats can wail about “sharpiegate” and Access Hollywood tapes and whatever other random nothing they find to be outraged about on a given day, but what matters for the president is where his base stands on actual issues and how far they are willing to bend.  And his base is firmly on the side of the Second Amendment and will not react well to any attempt to infringe on that right.

In a separate article, the Wall Street Journal reported in mid-August:

President Trump’s public push for gun-control measures is causing consternation among conservatives and some of his advisers, who have privately raised concerns about the political and policy fallout of the approach, according to White House officials and people familiar with the discussions.

. . . . Amid the increased discussion about gun control, some Trump advisers have urged the president not to throw his support behind any of the gun-control measures being discussed in Congress, including so-called red-flag legislation introduced by top Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), which aims at temporarily blocking dangerous people from accessing firearms. Some advisers have expressed concern that such legislation could violate the Second Amendment and alienate conservative voters.

Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son who often speaks with his father about his views on gun laws, has raised concerns about both red-flag legislation and about tightening background checks, according to people familiar with the matter.

This is a theme that is being covered more recently, as reports suggest that Trump’s internal polling is highlighting the danger of proceeding with gun control measures, measures it should be noted that target the law-abiding and would not stop criminals from committing gun-related crimes.

ABC News reports:

As President Donald Trump has mulled acting on gun control legislation in the wake of a string of mass shootings, data gathered by the president’s campaign showed that supporting any gun control measures would pose a problem for him politically going into the 2020 election season, according to sources familiar with the results.

. . . . The sources said it’s likely to inform Trump’s decision on whether to act on any gun control legislation, despite separate nationwide polling showing widespread public support for tougher gun sale background checks.

. . . . Trump has sent contradictory messages on his stance on gun legislation since the Dayton and El Paso shootings.

On Aug. 9, Trump said he supported “very meaningful background checks.” But opposition from the N.R.A. stalled momentum on potential proposals from the White House.

In an Aug. 21 conversation with Trump, NRA head Wayne LaPierre issued caution on new gun control measures, warning that the president’s core supporters didn’t want them. Trump later said in the Oval Office “we have strong background checks now.”

“But we have sort of missing areas and areas that don’t complete the whole circle. And we’re looking at different things and I have to tell you it’s a mental problem, I said it 100 times, it’s not the gun that pulls the trigger, it’s the person that pulls the trigger.”

It seems clear that the president is conflicted.  On the one hand, he does want to address the issue of mass shootings, but on the other hand, he does not want to infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment rights.  It’s an unenviable position.

Facing reelection in 2020, Trump is wise to consult internal and other polls of his base in terms of an issue that the majority of his base does not feel is open for debate: the Second Amendment.

According to a Morning Consult/Politico survey released last month, Republican voters “support gun rights over gun control nearly 3 to 1.”

A Morning Consult/Politico survey shows that 71 percent of Republicans support protecting the right of Americans to own guns while 22 percent support passage of more gun control.

Among voters who supported Donald Trump in 2016 the gap is slightly larger, with 73 percent supporting protection of the right to own guns while only 21 percent support more gun control.

Only 71% of Republicans support protecting Americans’ right to own guns?  Seems a bit low to me.  The president is wise to be prudent in regard to any move that restricts the gun rights of law-abiding Americans.


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