2018-03-12 18:22:36 UTC
Once again, President Trump underscored the vast difference between Trump the person and Trump the administration when it comes to his stance on divisive issues. And that's why, in hindsight, it was always pretty clear that Trump would not support any gun-control proposals.
Where Trump's White House ended up on how to respond to school shootings is a world away from where he started. On Sunday, the White House released its proposal, which focuses on arming teachers and doesn't mention raising the age limit for assault rifle purchases, a move for which Trump had expressed support.
That's just the latest contradiction from the president on guns. He started out as one of the most pro-gun and pro-National Rifle Association presidents in modern history. After the massacre at a high school in Parkland, Fla., last month, he lent his support to a dizzying array of proposals from both sides. He:
Tweeted his support for “strengthening background checks”
Called the leaders of the NRA “Great People and Great American Patriots”
Took language right from the NRA to support “hardening” schools by arming teachers
Promised to ban bump stocks
Talked about raising the age to buy assault weapons from 18 to 21
Praised a new Florida gun-control law that does just that
Appeared to support Democrats' proposals for banning assault weapons
Snubbed the idea of federal commissions a day before his White House announced its own commission on school violence
The White House ended up far to the right of most of these proposals. Its idea to arm teachers is so controversial that most Republicans in Congress don't support it.
We saw a similar unraveling of compromise play out in a January immigration debate. And a pattern is starting to emerge on how to read Trump's wild spins on divisive issues: When it comes time for the White House to put its own ideas in writing, he'll land to the right of most of Washington, no matter how he seemed to be at the center or left just a few days before. ....