Well. Okay. First of all, the man looks completely ridiculous when he tries to act like an actual president for 10 minutes. Who does he think he’s fooling? Who does he think takes him seriously? I don’t think anybody does. Those of us who don’t support him sure don’t. And I’d bet even the Trump lovers don’t. They know he has to do this for show once in a great while, be “so presidential that you people will be so bored.” But soon enough, there’ll be another rally, and he’ll be back to calling Hispanic people invaders and rapists. Yee hah!
Secondly. How dare Donald Trump stand up there before us and denounce racism and white supremacism. Seriously? He spends 364 days a year tweeting coarse and demeaning things about every black person he can think of insulting, and then comes before us and wants us to believe that he’s appalled by racism? He’s been championing racism for 45 years, ever since he and Fred made sure that their white tenants wouldn’t have to suffer the indignity of living next door to a non-white person. And hatred? All he does as president is rile up his people to hate the rest of us. “Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart, and devours the soul,” Trump read. He should know.
And third. WTF on the policy front. He spends the morning tweeting about strong background checks and maybe tying them to immigration reform. Wow! It sounded like he’s actually going big here, setting up a big confrontation with Mitch McConnell and taking on the NRA, even, after three mass shooters in a week aimed to kill strangers in Gilroy, El Paso and Dayton. Because the thing is, Trump could probably do it if he really put what passes for his mind to it. He could probably beat the NRA. McConnell would recognize that it would help him get reelected and play along, as long as the substance of it was relatively minor. So, around 9 a.m., after the tweets, this was looking kind of interesting.
Then, when Trump spoke, poof. Nothing. Red-flag laws. These are laws that allow police or family members to petition a court if they think an individual or loved one is showing signs of going postal. About 10 states have such laws; none down in gun country where they’re really needed (except Florida, which passed its law after the Parkland massacre). In these states, hundreds of petitions have been filed seeking to remove a firearm from an individual, and removal is approved pretty often—in Maryland, for example, about half the time. This is all good. The laws may have saved lives, may even have prevented a mass murder or two.
But come on. This isn’t the gun legislation we need, which Trump had just Tweeted about before whoever wrote the words that he read off of a teleprompter dialed him back.
In late February, the House passed two major gun bills. The first would broaden the background check system, and the second would require gun dealers to wait 10 days instead of the current three for a federal background check before selling the firearm. The second bill would also close a loophole that allows gun sellers to sell the gun within three days even if the feds haven’t reported back by then. That would mean seven extra days for the FBI to do a thorough check. McConnell, of course, is doing nothing on the bills.
FBI data from 2017 report that more than 6,000 guns were sold to people who should have been denied because of earlier convictions and what have you, but who got their guns because the FBI didn’t complete the background check in time.
But did Trump mention that? Of course not. He’s not going anywhere near something like that. So he’s not touching the NRA. And while it’s true that the NRA opposes red-flag laws, it doesn’t oppose them with quite the vigor it opposes everything else. And anyway, look at the words that Trump passively voiced Monday morning.
“That is why I have called for red-flag laws…” Have called. These are state laws. That cackle you heard during the address was Wayne LaPierre laughing with delight.
The only legislation he actually called for was the death penalty for mass murders and hate-crime committers. Which means nothing. And--we do this already. Tim McVeigh is dead, last I checked. And anyhow, today’s spree shooters generally intend to die in the course of their murder sprees. And did you catch that lusty way he emphasized the words “death penalty”? Sick.
Beyond that, the usual culprits for people who’d prefer not to talk about guns or refer to these acts as terrorism, which Trump noticeably did not do. Mental health. The internet. Video games! These things are, or can be, social problems. We should spend a lot more on mental health. Oh, and by the way, if Republicans are suddenly so concerned about mental health, then they ought to stop trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, because it’s the law that requires more extensive mental health coverage and treatment than any in our history.
So yes, these things can be problematic. But none of these are semi-automatic weapons that fire 100 rounds a minute, with clips that hold that many rounds. That’s what distinguishes America, which has a unique gun massacre and gun violence problem, from the rest of the peaceful world. Not Grand Theft Auto.
I was wrong up top. It’s not merely that he looks ridiculous, although he does. It’s also just offensive when Trump tries to sound like he gives a fig. His entire public career is about himself, his vanity, his raging yet fragile ego, his psychopathic need to mock and hate on people who threaten him, and the demagogic adulation of sycophants in which he loves to bask. He can’t play a president. And you know he hates doing things like this. He’d spare us insult rubbed in our anguish if he didn’t even bother to pretend.