The hosts of New Day actually praised President Trump Thursday morning, sounding very impressed that he seemed willing to “buck his own party on gun control.” It apparently doesn’t take that much for the media to say nice things about the President. All he has to do is start sounding like a Democrat.
President Trump held a bipartisan meeting on gun control yesterday, where he seemed open to some of the left’s ideas on gun control. He did not seem to like the fact that the Manchin-Toomey bill, first introduced in 2013, did not raise the minimum age to buy an assault rifle from 18 to 21, arguing that they probably did not include that provision because they were “afraid of the NRA.” Toomey reminded the President that he took a lot of flack from the NRA for his support of the 2013 bill, which ultimately failed to gain traction in the Senate.
Perhaps even more startling and upsetting to Second Amendment supporters as well as civil libertarians, the President also praised the idea of “taking the guns early” and “going through due process second” when it comes to confiscating the guns of the mentally ill. One can’t help but wonder if that statement would give Chris Matthews a thrill up his leg.
Co-host Chris Cuomo described the gun control meeting as “even better than the one on DACA and immigration”, referencing the January 9 meeting where President Trump seemed open to the idea of a “clean DACA” bill with the “promise” of undertaking “comprehensive immigration reform” later. Co-host Alisyn Camerota also gave Wednesday’s meeting high marks, saying, “I think this is President Trump at his best.”
Panelists John Avlon and Chris Cillizza praised the “civic value” of the President holding these types of open meetings with the cameras rolling, allowing the American people to see how “the sausage gets made.”
CNN New Day
CHRIS CUOMO: All right, did you see the big televised meeting yesterday? The bipartisan one with the members of Congress? Even better than the one on DACA and immigration.
ALISYN CAMEROTA: You think? You’re giving this an “A”, an “A” over the “B?”
CUOMO: More startling, more eye popping. I’m getting nods of ascent from two men who aren’t particularly fond of me. It was about gun control. And the Republican Party is very clear on this. The President is a Republican, also clear. But not yesterday.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Some of you people are petrified of the NRA. You can’t be petrified. In your bill, what are you doing about the 18 to 21? Okay, are you going to leave that? You’re afraid of the NRA, right? Now, this is not a popular thing to say in terms of the NRA but I’m saying it anyway. It doesn’t make sense that I have to wait until I’m 21 to get a handgun but I can get this weapon at 18. I don’t know. I like taking the guns early. Take the guns first, go through due process second. If you add concealed carry to this, you’ll never get it passed.
CUOMO: So let’s bring in Chris Cillizza and John Avlon. Here’s the good news about this. You don’t have to be a lawyer to understand how scary that proposition is. Not that you don’t need to do something about guns. Applaud the President for trying to figure out what to do even though he is talking about things that are not politically popular within his own...
CAMEROTA: For sure.
CUOMO: Check that box. However, let’s take your stuff and then...
CHRIS CILLIZZA: We’ll work it out later. Figure out the legal stuff later. It’s like a “Homeland” episode.
CUOMO: Highly assaultive to the notion of due process. Something that ordinarily, anybody in, in elected office, but certainly Republicans would jump all over when it comes to this. Crickets.
CHRIS CILLIZZA: I mean, I’m not exaggerating that I think if you substitute Barack, Donald Trump for Barack Obama and he says that exact same thing, there is like an, an uprising on the right. Gun sales go through the roof. I mean, because for years, despite Barack Obama saying “I have no interest...I’m not coming to your house to take your gun, there was always that fear.” When Obama got elected, gun sales through the roof. After Newtown, gun sales through the roof because that was always the fear. I mean, it is remarkable. I don’t know, I always wonder this with Trump, does he know what he’s saying in that regard?
CUOMO: Give us the Senator Cornyn face.
CILLIZZA: Okay, so the best thing is watch John Cornyn, who is sitting next to, next to the President. He goes like this all the time. Like a, like a, it’s possible I misheard that. And then sometimes he does, right, and then sometimes he does the like this. Like I’ve seen a ghost type of situation.
CUOMO: He can’t even look at him.
CILLIZZA: John Cornyn, John Cornyn, to your point though, Chris. John Cornyn is like Republican Orthodoxy 101 on this. Right? I mean, he’s from Texas, Second Amendment supporter. And you have the President of the United States being like “we can do, we can do comprehensive.” I mean, it’s just like the immigration one. Now, if you are a gun rights supporter, you should take comfort in the fact that it looked like the immigration meeting because two days after the immigration meeting, where he said we’re going to do comprehensive immigration reform, he vetoed all of it.
CAMEROTA: We’re not there yet but hold on, I just want to say this. I think this is President Trump at his best. I think this is President Trump at his best.
CUOMO: You said that after, during the last meeting.
CAMEROTA: And I feel this way, that he throws it out there. He breaks the mold. He is unpredictable. And so, it gets people back on their heels. And he starts here, as we know, with his negotiation. He starts at a more extreme position and gets people sort of all riled up and confused. And then, you don’t know what he’s going to do next but he generally backs off.
JOHN AVLON: But I actually agree with you. I mean, I think this is the best segment of the reality show running out of the West Wing because there is actually a civic value to this. This is, look, let’s open the doors. Let’s put the cameras in real time. Let’s hear all these great statesmen articulate their policy and have a back and forth and the President’s the ringmaster. I think there’s a real virtue to it. The problem is, if you listen and look carefully, this is not necessarily a collection of the best and the brightest on the policy issue. But the President showed real willingness to skew the calculus. And if he follows through, it could be really constructive. The thing is, as, you know, Chris pointed out, he’s articulating the most fever dream nightmare of what, of what they said Barack Obama wanted to do. Now, whether he is able to move the ball forward, I think the most significant thing he said was, guys, you’re not going to get concealed carry. Don’t attach it to the bill. If he follows through on that, you actually could see NICS pass forward, the Cornyn bill. You could see some progress. But it was a debate amongst, you know, members of Congress and the President on one of the urgent issues of our time in real time.
CAMEROTA: And we get to watch.
AVLON: There’s a real purpose to that.
CILLIZZA: It’s a, it’s a, it’s a great thing if he shows some political capital, spending, willingness to do one or two of the things. Otherwise...
CUOMO: That’s the qualification of what you’re celebrating about his tactic here. You said at the last meeting also. You were right then also. But then what happened?
CAMEROTA: Actions speak louder than words.
CILLIZZA: Otherwise, it’s just good...Otherwise, it’s, it’s good TV. And it’s interesting from a civic perspective, to John’s point.
AVLON: The Civic thing can’t be underestimated. This is actually really healthy to see also him try to be a negotiator and his instinct seems to be try to move people to the middle. Let’s see if he follows through on that.
CILLIZZA: Well and remember, his past views on guns prior to being a candidate for President are much more in line with what he sounded like yesterday than a, sort of, traditional Republican candidate.
AVLON: Then you had this extraordinary moment where Senator Ben Sasse, Trump critic but conservative from Nebraska, releases a statement that says “We’re not going to change our principles based on the last person who spoke to the President,” which is another stunning, another stunning, kind of withering statement.
CUOMO: So where does it leave us? To Alisyn’s point, this is what he does well, he shakes everybody up. But where does it leave us? We looked at Manchin and Toomey. We have Joe Manchin on the show, the Senator from West Virginia, this morning. Very key player right now. And he says “Hey did you guys put the age thing in your bill?” And they’re like, “did the what?” To put the age thing in the bill. They said “no, it’s not, not in the bill.” And they start talking about age things. But I didn’t get a clear sense of “is that on the table?” And then he says, you should take the guns first. He was talking about people who are considered dangerous because of mental incapacity, mental health. Now, there are a lot of restraining orders that states have passed. California is one of them, if you want to Google it for more information.
CAMEROTA: And Florida is considering it now. Doing that temporary restraining order.
CUOMO: But due process is step for step with it. You know, you are someone who is close to me. You say, boy, he’s losing it. It’s worse than you even see on TV. You have to go to the judge. You have to make a show of clear and convincing evidence. And then, you know, through your responses, what you get off my, my social media, and then they’ll take my gun. It has to go in that process to be Constitutional.
CILLIZZA: The thing, the thing that’s hard with him is, I think what we know is, he would like to have a win. I think he would like to do something in a way that he believes Barack Obama failed to do.
CUOMO: What’s the easiest win? What’s the, that’s my question.
CILLIZZA: Fix NICS is the easiest thing and he’s, to John’s point.
CUOMO: But is that a win to the kids down there and to that movement?
CAMEROTA: It’s not about that. They don’t want to stop at that. They wouldn’t consider that a win.
CILLIZZA: It’s about signing...
CAMEROTA: They want more.
CILLIZZA: ...It’s signing something. It’s him holding that ceremony that we’ve seen many times. He does a signature. He holds it. Who wants the pen? That’s what he wants, the specifics of what...I think the reason you have trouble nailing it down is because he doesn’t know.
AVLON: Look, Manchin-Toomey would be more of a win. The President’s impulse here isn’t just to get, to get a “win.” But it’s also, I think, he’s got opportunities to be Nixon in China on issues like this, on issues like immigration. But then the key question is does he follow through? Does he actually use the political capital? The unbelievable influence he has over the House. Will he actually deploy that to get something done? That’s the real question. This is his legacy. This is our country. Let’s see if he actually follows through on his instincts.