Trump responds to Texas tragedy with double-talk



Boldly and insensitively, President Trump said today that the shooting spree on Sunday morning that killed at least 26 people at a small-town church in Texas was not “a guns situation.”

Rather, it was a “mental health problem,” he said.

Trump made the remarks at a news conference in Tokyo, the first major stop on his current tour of Asia. It was all double-talk.

The Donald was a gun-control advocate himself until he sought the National Rifle Association’s endorsement in his campaign for president last year. The strategy seems to have been crucial in his defeat of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election. She got nearly 3 million more votes than he did in the popular tally, but he won the contest in the Electoral College — mainly, it might be  argued, by dint of support from NRA members and other such wackos.

So now, he acts as if he invented and expanded Second Amendment rights all by himself. This makes it all the more surprising that he would mention mental health issues in  connection with the Texas massacre. You see, soon after his inauguration last winter, Trump signed a bill reversing a regulation established by Barack Obama that would have made it more difficult for Americans with mental illnesses to buy guns.

In political terms, Trump’s gesture in this regard probably only helped him. Most Americans supported the Obama regulation, but most gun nuts did not.  If the president had bucked the NRA on this issue, his right-wing political base would have shrunk to meaninglessness.

This is all part and parcel of Donald Trump’s incessant reinvention of himself as a political figure. He used to be a liberal, but now he’s not. Most Americans aren’t buying his changes on policies, but he’s the president — for now anyway.

Of course, I still expect that he won’t serve out the full term to which he was elected. I figure he’ll be impeached or forced to resign.

That’ll be fun, won’t it?