Facts Be Damned: Journalists Lobby for Gun Control After Shooting

On Monday’s daily White House briefing, journalists went into overdrive, pushing for Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to talk about gun control and what President Trump was planning on doing policy-wise after Sunday's mass shooting in Las Vegas.

As soon as Huckabee Sanders finished with an emotional statement commenting on the shooting, reporters immediately jumped in with questions about what the President’s thoughts were on gun control:

JEFF MASON [REUTERS]: Sarah, many times when these horrible massacres occur, it leads to questions about gun control. Has this particular massacre made the president think anything more about pursuing tighter gun laws such as background checks to prevent the massacres like this from happening again?

(...)

JEFF ZELENY [CNN]: To follow on that Sarah though, do you believe that, or does the President believe that this is a moment that this is a time when this should not be a political discussion, it should be a policy discussion? Does he believe that he could bring something new to the gun debate that has been, you know, uh, I guess a locked-in typical politics for so many years?

(...)

ZELENY: But before, if I could follow up, before he was elected President, in some fifteen or sixteen years ago, he did have a different view on guns than he had during the campaign. Does he believe that this is something that he could lead a bipartisan effort on at some point? At what point would that be appropriate?

Later during the briefing, two particularly obnoxious questions came from Hallie Jackson of NBC News and Steven Portnoy of CBS News Radio that expressly pushed Democrat Party talking points from Senator Chris Murphy and Hillary Clinton:

 

 

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See below for a full transcript of the list of questions from today’s briefing:

2:13 PM EST

MAJOR GARRETT [CBS]: Can you tell us a little bit about how the President first learned about it and your engagement with him, his own personal reaction to the events of today? And he also said in the Oval [Office] he might spend more than a day in Las Vegas, was he referring to a couple of days there?

(...)

GARRETT: Have you had a chance to talk to him about his own, how he dealt with this?

(...)

JEFF MASON [REUTERS]: Sarah, many times when these horrible massacres occur, it leads to questions about gun control. Has this particular massacre made the president think anything more about pursuing tighter gun laws such as background checks to prevent the massacres like this from happening again?

(...)

JEFF ZELENY [CNN]: To follow on that Sarah though, do you believe that, or does the President believe that this is a moment that this is a time when this should not be a political discussion, it should be a policy discussion? Does he believe that he could bring something new to the gun debate that has been, you know, uh, I guess a locked-in typical politics for so many years?

(...)

ZELENY: But before, if I could follow up, before he was elected President, in some fifteen or sixteen years ago, he did have a different view on guns than he had during the campaign. Does he believe that this is something that he could lead a bipartisan effort on at some point? At what point would that be appropriate?

(...)

MATTHEW NUSSBAUM [POLITICO]: Thanks, Sarah. On Puerto Rico, can you tell us a little bit about the president's aims for his visit tomorrow? And do you expect any tension given some of his comments over the weekend?     

(...)

NUSSBAUM: From some of his comments over the weekend like the folks down there wanted everything done for them, do you expect that to come up in any of these conversations?

(...)

CECILIA VEGA [ABC]: Let me just pick up on that. Who exactly wants everything done? You said “they?”

(...)

VEGA: And then just back up to today’s tragedy really quickly if I may, does the president believe that what happened amounts to an act of domestic terrorism?

(...)

JOHN ROBERTS [FOX NEWS]: Over the weekend, this was pointed out, the President was very sharply critical of Carmen Yulín Cruz, who’s the mayor of San Juan. Other than her comments on Friday morning, in which she criticized Elaine Duke for saying this was a good news story in terms of DHS getting supplies out to areas that were needed, what was she was doing that prompted such criticism from the President?

(...)

ASHLEY PARKER [THE WASHINGTON POST]: Has Tom Price reimbursed the government yet for his seat on those flights and if not, is there a specific deadline when you and the President expect him to do so by?

(...)

JORDAN FABIAN [THE HILL]: Thank you Sarah. Given what the President said about Secretary of State Tillerson's outreach to North Korea over the weekend, does the President still have confidence in him as Secretary of State?  

HUCKABEE-SANDERS: He does.

FABIAN: Has he spoken to him since those, since he sent out those tweets?

(...)

JON DECKER [FOX NEWS RADIO]: Thanks a lot Sarah. It's a very sad day in this country as you mentioned at the top and as the President said in his remarks. He said that when he goes out to Las Vegas, he's going to meet with first responders and in addition to that families of the victims that were impacted by this. What's the message to each of those groups when he goes out there?

(...)

JESSICA STONE [CGTN]: Sarah, thank you. And following up on the tweets about the [inaudible] over the weekend, the President tweeted: “Save your energy Rex, we'll do what has to be done!” So is it the stated position of the White House that you're trying to get back to talks or have you given up?

(...)

STONE: The Secretary of State talked about those three [inaudible] lines of communication with Pyongyang, that’s what you’re primarily using it for? You’re not using it to try to get, measure what their plans are?

(...)

HALLIE JACKSON [NBC NEWS]: Sarah, can I follow on that? I also wanna ask you about today, but does the President believe diplomacy then is not worth pursuing in North Korea?

(...)

JACKSON: And then asking about today as well, you talked about how now is not the time to get into a gun control debate or to talk about policy. After the Orlando shooting, the President that day was out on Twitter talking about policy. He was talking about his travel ban. So, when, for example, Senator Chris Murphy says it's time for Congress to get off its ass and do something, does the President agree?

(...)

JACKSON: So what should they do in the President’s mind?

(...)

JACKSON: So related to gun control, “What would the President like to see Congress do?” is the question I wanna get out.

(...)

JACKSON: Can you explain how that’s different for Orlando though Sarah, when at that day, he was talking about the travel ban, saying he didn’t want congratulations, essentially? Why is what’s happened...

(...)
                
STEVEN PORTNOY [CBS NEWS RADIO]:Thanks, Sarah. I do want to ask you because before last night's massacre, a bill was advancing through the House, Republicans cleared it through the House Committee on natural resources that would, among other things, make it easier for people to buy silencers. Hillary Clinton tweeted about it this morning, she said that “Imagine the deaths if the shooter had a silencer, which the NRA wants to make easier to get.” Does the White House have a position on this particular piece of legislation?

(...)

LOUISE RADNOFSKY [WSJ]: Sarah, are there any policy prescriptions that the President considers to be out of bounds on the policy debate that will happen in the next few weeks. Could you articulate a little bit what his position on gun control is?

(...)

FRED LUCAS [THE DAILY SIGNAL]: Just wanted to ask about the reso-, bill, the Congress McCain-Lee Act, which would give a permanent exemption to Puerto Rico from the Jones Act. Would the administration consider either a permanent repeal of the Jones Act or at least an exemption from it for Puerto Rico at some point?

(...)

LUCAS: Okay. Also, on the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, there have been some attacks among Senators, some in the media, on her religious beliefs. Does the White House have some concerns about that?

(...)


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