Buried in the news of President Trump assuring National Rifle Association head Wayne LaPierre that an expansion of background checks is “off the table” was a betrayal. A betrayal of the nearly 90 percent of Americans who want a person to clear the lowest possible bar before buying a gun? Sure. But more importantly, it was a betrayal of First Daughter of the United States, Ivanka Trump!
The New York Times reports that in a 30-minute phone call, Trump told LaPierre that he was, “not interested in legislation establishing universal background checks and that his focus would be on the mental health of the gunmen, not their guns.”
But this was apparently a total turn around from what he promised dear daughter Ivanka. The Atlantic reports that days after the shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, Ivanka—gun violence expert—proposed that Trump make a “televised Rose Garden appearance” promoting universal background checks. Ivanka sold it as a “historic” and “unprecedented” moment that would garner a slew of positive media attention; essentially, Donald Trump catnip.
And it seemed like it might just work. From The Atlantic:
“He loved it. He was all spun up about it,” said a former senior White House official who, like others interviewed for this story, spoke with me on the condition of anonymity in order to share private conversations. On August 7, the president picked up the phone to discuss the idea with Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the National Rifle Association. “It’s going to be great, Wayne,” Trump said, according to both a former senior White House official and an NRA official briefed on the call. “They will love us.” [...]
Until it didn’t!
The president reportedly asked LaPierre whether the NRA was willing to give in at all on background checks. LaPierre’s response, the sources said, was unequivocal: “No.” With that, “the Rose Garden fantasy,” as the NRA official described it to me, was scrapped as quickly as it had been dreamed up.
And Trump, not unlike a cowardly dog, has listened obediently. At the end of the day, even Ivanka Trump, who mostly has bad ideas but occasionally stumbles into trying to do something good for the publicity or “optics” alone, doesn’t have the kind of influence that the NRA does over her father.