We begin today’s roundup with an analysis from The Daily Beast’s Sam Brodey, Asawin Suebsaeng, and Sam Stein of Trump’s predictable reversal of his support for expanded background checks:
“He’s started to move on,” a White House official conceded, adding that they haven’t heard the president discussing the topic in recent days with the same urgency or frequency that punctuated the immediate aftermath of the high-profile shootings. [...] So far this month, President Trump has posted four tweets directly addressing the need for more robust background checks for gun purchases, one fewer than he’s posted about Diamond & Silk, the Trump-loving, self-described “Video Vloggers” who make regular appearances on Fox News and Fox Business.
That Trump’s attention span drifted elsewhere before Congress could even reconvene to debate gun control reform was hardly a surprise. The president has promised to tackle background checks before, only to drop the idea once the mass shooting that precipitated his apparent interest faded from the news cycle.
Josh Dawsey and David Nakamura at The Washington Post:
Trump’s campaign commissioned a poll on guns after this month’s shootings, and his political advisers warned him that there is little support for significant action among Republican voters, and even some Democrats, people familiar with the conversations said. [...] Trump has begun road-testing his talking points on guns. He noted to advisers that he got a roar of approval at the New Hampshire rally when he said: “It is not the gun that pulls the trigger; it is the person holding the gun.”
Meanwhile, The Washington Post editorial board explains that right-wing extremism is a global problem:
Domestic actors eager to spread the dogma of ethno-nationalism look to like-minded U.S. groups for tips on “red-pilling” people into radicalization through “meme warfare,” or on making the most of the automated accounts they buy up to artificially inflate narratives. Those groups, in turn, give the content a boost. This is happening in Sweden, Spain, Italy, Germany and elsewhere. And influence campaigners in one country are at the ready to help their compatriots in another whenever an election rolls around. There are think tanks; there are conferences. Researchers call it the nationalist international.
At The Nation, Edward Burmila dives into the effect of right-wing extremism and white supremacy on one small Indiana town:
How does an event centered around heirloom tomatoes, improvised folk music, and kids gorging on kettle corn devolve into a source of potential violent conflict? The answer speaks to a nationwide problem local governments and law enforcement have with confronting white supremacy directly, as they do readily with other issues they identify as threats. Instead, they claim impotence, citing a misguided belief that the First Amendment ties their hands, until the situation escalates to a crisis point.
Richard Haas deconstructs Trump’s foreign policy approach:
Critics of President Trump’s foreign policy tend to focus on his attacks on America’s allies, the way he praises authoritarian regimes or his habit of rejecting international agreements. But another aspect of the Trump foreign policy is equally important: its lack of diplomacy.
David A. Graham at The Atlantic:
Recent polling shows that Donald Trump has managed to reshape American attitudes to a remarkable extent on a trio of his key issues—race, immigration, and trade.
There’s just one catch: The public is turning against Trump’s views.
On a final note, in case you haven’t read it yet, former White House staffer and presidential cheerleader Anthony Scaramucci tries to explain his change of heart:
My public praise of the man was over the top at times, but my private estimation of him was more measured. I thought Trump, despite his warts, could bring a pragmatic, entrepreneurial approach to the Oval Office. I thought he could be the reset button Washington needed to break through the partisan sclerosis. I thought he would govern in a more inclusive way than his campaign rhetoric might have indicated, and I naively thought that, by joining the administration, I could counteract the far-right voices in the room.
I thought wrong. And, yes, many of you told me so.