Tuesday, August 20, 2019


Well, so much for that:
President Trump appears to be backing away from potential support for gun background check legislation, according to White House aides, congressional leaders and gun advocates, dimming prospects that Washington will approve significant new gun measures in the wake of mass shootings that left 31 dead.

Immediately after the carnage in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, Trump said “there is a great appetite” for tightening background checks on people who buy firearms. But in recent days, Trump has focused in public remarks on the need to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill while emphasizing that the nation already has “very strong background checks right now” — positions that hew more closely to the views of the National Rifle Association.
This is just the latest in a series of failures by First Daughter Ivanka Trump. Many children of rich people become comfortable with failure because their wealth shields them from the consequences -- think of George W. Bush in his youth -- but Ivanka seems to treat failure as a calling. Over and over again, she spreads word to the media that steering her father away from a far-right position on some issue or other is now her main mission in life, yet she fails every time, spectacularly and publicly. What does she think she's getting out of this?

While I was on vacation last week, I read an Axios story about Ivanka's decision to seize on the gun issue. The story was unintentionally hilarious.
Ivanka Trump has quietly been calling lawmakers since the El Paso and Dayton massacres to gauge their openness to movement on gun legislation when Congress returns, sources familiar with her conversations tell Axios.
Translation: Ivanka Trump has been not-so-quietly calling journalists, including those at Axios, to gauge their openness to writing stories favorable to Ivanka Trump on the subjects of gun legislation.
... Ivanka Trump spoke last Wednesday to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), while he was vacationing in Hawaii, to get an update on the bipartisan background checks bill he proposed with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.).

The measure, which was initially introduced in 2013 after the Sandy Hook shooting, would expand background checks to nearly all commercial firearm sales.

"She called Manchin and said she was trying to get a sense of what bills are out there," a Manchin aide told Axios. "She had him explain how they drafted the bill, where it stands and what changes needed to be made in order for it to pass."
Forget that Ivanka is the porcelain-skinned First Daughter. Think about her the way she'd like to be thought about: as a Very Serious top adviser to the president of the United States. Shouldn't a president's top adviser have, y'know, a staff who can report to her on "what bills are out there"? Has Ivanka ever hired anyone with this level of expertise? Failing that, can't she find someone else in D.C., even during a congressional recess, who has this information at hand? Or hey, couldn't she look it up herself? I can understand wanting to schmooze, but does she have to call a senator who's eating a mango and probably planning nothing more taxing than a few hours on the beach? Do you think he has this information at his fingertips?

And why doesn't she know the history of Manchin's universal background check bill, which he and Republican senator Pat Toomey proposed in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, only to see it fail? I knew that without looking it up, and I'm not a top adviser to the president of the United States.

But here's my favorite bit:
Following the mass shootings, Ivanka Trump posted a note on her Instagram story calling on Congress to "enact Red Flag laws/Extreme Risk Protection Orders in every state, increase resources dedicated to mental health support nationwide and close background check loopholes."

... She later reiterated that call to action on Twitter.
Yes, those were her exact words:

"Congress should enact Red Flag laws/ Extreme Risk Protection Orders in EVERY state" -- Ivanka, do you mean Congress should enact a national red flag law? Because it sounds as if you believe Congress passes state laws, and you want it to enact fifty of them.

This story suggested that Ivanka's efforts might really be successful ("Why it matters: This is another sign that President Trump might support new gun control measures, despite the opposition of conservatives in his orbit"). A subsequent New York Times article also portrayed Ivanka as the linchpin:
Mr. Manchin and other senators pressing for action on guns are counting on Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter and senior adviser, to keep Mr. Trump from bowing to pressure from the N.R.A. and Republican hard-liners in Congress to not take any actions on guns.

“I think she can — her and the family, but especially her — can be the buffering when the pushback comes,” Mr. Manchin said. “She can tell him, ‘Let’s stay strong; let’s stay true. We know we’re solid with Republicans, with the base.’”
But she's failed again. She's not a closer. What's the opposite of a closer? That's what she is.

I keep hearing that Ivanka Trump will be president someday, and I keep thinking: Who'd vote for her? Here she is pursuing gun control. That alienates the right. Here she is failing in her efforts to lobby her own father on behalf of modest gun control measures. That alienates everyone else. She displeases everyone. Why? Why does she keep doing this? What does she think is in it for her?

A recent New York magazine cover story claimed that Ivanka has a solid fan base in Trump country:
Long perceived by MAGA die-hards as a shifty liberal, Ivanka is now mostly beloved on the right, where she polls better than her father in the critical states of the industrial Midwest, leading to speculation on mid-tier news sites that she might replace Mike Pence on the 2020 ticket and to fans’ dreams about Ivanka 2024.
In fact, Ivanka's poll numbers in those Midwestern states are mediocre:
In a Firehouse Strategies and 0ptimus poll released Sunday, Ivanka Trump was net favorable in Pennsylvania at 38-35 as well as Michigan at 37-36. The first daughter had a net disapproval rating of 35-39 in Wisconsin, but her favorability among likely general election voters surpassed her father's. She was +3 versus the president at -3 in Pennsylvania, +1 compared to his -5 in Michigan, and -4 to his -7 in Wisconsin.

"While not by overwhelming margins, Ivanka Trump maintains better net favorability among likely voters in these three states than her father does," the poll report states.
That could be the slogan for Ivanka in 2024: Awful, but Not by Overwhelming Margins.

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