Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is, so far, rejecting calls for Senate action from all corners. But he has moved incrementally from thoughts and prayers to "reflection," asking the chairmen (emphasis on men) of powerful Senate committees to cogitate on the issue.
"Senate Republicans are prepared to do our part," he said in a statement released late Monday. "Today, I spoke with Chairman Graham of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chairman Wicker of the Senate Commerce Committee, and Chairman Alexander of the Senate HELP Committee." Here's what he means by "our part": "I asked them to reflect on the subjects the president raised within their jurisdictions and encouraged them to engage in bipartisan discussions of potential solutions to help protect our communities without infringing on Americans’ constitutional rights."
Let's review the subjects of Trump's statement, the one scripted and applauded by the NRA: video games; culture; mental illness; tossing due process out the window. What was missing from Trump's statement? The guns the nation is ankle-deep in that killed more than 30 people in two shootings this weekend.
McConnell doesn't want anyone reflecting on guns. He wants a repeat of what he calls the "serious, bipartisan work that led to last year's successful passage of the Fix NICS Act and the STOP School Violence Act." Guess what's not in either of those two laws? That's right. Guns. You know that because the NRA didn't stop either from passing. The Fix NICS Act is marginally helpful, tightening up background checks. It's not awful. It's not enough. The STOP Act leaves guns out entirely, thanks to Democrats' refusal to include a provision that would arm teachers.
And it wouldn't be McConnell if there wasn't a blindingly awful display of hypocrisy. "Partisan theatrics and campaign-trail rhetoric will only take us farther away from the progress all Americans deserve," he concludes. This coming from the man whose campaign, hours after the El Paso massacre, tweeted out an image of a graveyard with the names of his political opponents—and a sitting U.S. federal judge—on tombstones (the tweet is still up). It's the same campaign that tolerates young male supporters, wearing "Team Mitch" T-shirts, putting images of themselves molesting a cardboard cut-out of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on social media and then criticizing the media for pointing out that these things happened.
McConnell is intent upon nothing productive happening in the wake of yet another mass slaughter in our country. He's intent on using it as he uses everything—for a crass political fight.