The Slatest

Today in Conservative Media: Trump’s Gun Grab Proves He Was a Secret Democrat All Along

President Trump listens during a meeting with bipartisan members of the Congress at the Cabinet Room of the White House February 28, 2018 in Washington, DC.
President Trump listens during a meeting with bipartisan members of the Congress at the Cabinet Room of the White House on Wednesday in Washington.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Today in Conservative Media is a daily roundup of the biggest stories in the right-wing press.

President Trump hosted lawmakers at the White House Wednesday for a bipartisan summit on gun legislation currently being considered in the wake of the Parkland shooting two weeks ago. The meeting was classic Trump in the sense that it turned out to be totally unpredictable, so much so that at one point Trump actually suggested that in some instances—like the case of 19-year-old Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz—the government should “take the guns first, go through due process second.” During the meeting, Trump also indicated his support for a host of Democrat-backed gun control initiatives like a bump-stock ban, universal background checks, and raising the age requirement for buying rifles to 21, while simultaneously dismissing a GOP-favored measure that would compel states to recognize concealed-carry permits from other states. At one point, Trump appeared to take on the NRA, telling Republican Sen. Pat Toomey that age limits weren’t included in his bill “because you’re afraid of the NRA.” Ahem.

It was an astounding meeting by any measure and one that is likely to reverberate throughout the Republican political establishment. Reactions on the right began to trickle in Wednesday, and it wasn’t pretty. In a piece titled “Wait–Did Trump Just Give Pro-Gun Control Democrats Everything They Wanted?” Matt Vespa at Townhall writes that the meeting was a “total disaster” and “pretty much was a capitulation to pro-gun control Democrats.” “While gun bans aren’t on the table, though the latest bill from Democrats come pretty damn close to that—gun confiscation with no due process is troubling,” Vespa writes. “The raising of the age limit for firearms is another way to chip away and deny Americans their Second Amendment rights.”

Caleb Howe at RedState writes that the meeting was a betrayal and “step one of putting all the blame on the NRA.”

He ceded the ground. He showed what he really thinks … There is this totally dangerous thing, he is saying, and we could fix it if the NRA wasn’t controlling Republicans. It is THE Democrat talking point. He agrees. It’s what he thinks. Not “the government failed at every level in Florida” but instead “The government could fix this easily if not for the evil NRA.”

“This is where we roll our eyes,” Howe concludes. Elsewhere at RedState Susan Wright writes, “any president that openly advocates gun grabbing and ‘due process second’ is not just a liberal social justice nightmare, but has the dangerous mindset of a dictator in the making.”

Breitbart splashed the headline: “Trump the Gun Grabber: Cedes Dem’s Wish List …” and followed with “Trump Guns for NRA in White House Meeting on Gun Policy.”

This is just the beginning, we’ll keep you updated on the full scope of the conservative response to come.

In other news

As oral arguments on the legality of public unions goes before the Supreme Court this week, Jonathan Tobin at National Review reminds readers how thankful they should be that Neil Gorsuch is on the bench. It’s enough to justify the Trump presidency, he says. “[W]hile it is almost impossible to separate Trump the man and social-media creature, who embarrasses the nation on a regular basis, from Trump the president, who has governed as a conservative, conservatives must try to do so,” Tobin writes. “Gorsuch was confirmed, and that fact remains the single most potent argument in favor of voting for Trump two Novembers ago.”

Elsewhere at National Review, Mairead McArdle covers the right-wing blowback to Dick’s Sporting Goods’ decision to stop selling AR-15s after selling the weapon used in the Parkland shooting to the gunman. “Although the shotgun was not the one the gunman used in his attack, the now distraught sporting company announced Wednesday that it will no longer sell assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines in its stores, a move that has angered some customers, who say they will boycott the store,” McArdle writes. She goes on to feature angry tweets about the news. “I don’t buy guns in your stores because literally everyone else has better pricing. But my family does spend quite a bit of money with you each year,” one reads. “That ends now. You’re free to hate my Liberty as much as I’m free to exercise it and take revenue from you.”