WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump on Thursday faced fierce backlash from his own constituents over comments he made Wednesday on gun control.
Speaking at a bipartisan meeting with lawmakers to discuss school safety, President Trump said he was in favor of gun confiscation without due process if it meant making America’s children safer.
“I like taking the guns early, like in this crazy man’s case that just took place in Florida … to go to court would have taken a long time,” Trump told those in attendance. “Take the guns first, go through due process second.”
The president’s comments quickly went viral on social media, outraging those who took the statement as a direct attack on the Second Amendment.
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.,said Trump’s suggestion “took his breath away”.
“I have to admit that the idea of taking a person’s property before the due process — that did take my breath away a little bit,” Toomey told Joe Scarborough on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” (https://tinyurl.com/y957huqp).
“Doesn’t work that way in America,” Toomey added.
The NRA also came out swinging against the president’s comments.
“While [Wednesday’s] meeting made for great TV, the gun control proposals discussed would make for bad policy that would not keep our children safe,” NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker told The Hill (https://tinyurl.com/yam4b98n). “Instead of punishing law-abiding gun owners for the acts of a deranged lunatic our leaders should pass meaningful reforms that would actually prevent future tragedies.”
Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska also spoke out against Trump’s call to override the constitutional right to due process, stating he felt the president was being manipulated by leftist agendas.
“We’re not ditching any constitutional protections simply because the last person the President talked to today doesn’t like them,” Sasse told CNN (https://tinyurl.com/yazw5xxm).
Even Breitbart News, a media publication which has long supported the Trump agenda, came out guns blazing against Trump on Thursday. “Trump the Gun Grabber: Cedes Dems’ Wish List— Bump Stocks, Buying Age, ‘Assault Weapons,’ Background Checks,” it’s headline read (https://tinyurl.com/ybd9pjcu).
Taking to Twitter, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R) said that if the president’s proposal on due process were to be implemented, it would amount to no due process at all.
“Due process comes first or it isn’t due process. This is true no matter which party is writing the bills or in control of the White House,” Paul wrote (https://tinyurl.com/y9ouw46e).
Just two weeks ago, the president complained that his former top aide, Rob Porter, was unfairly forced to resign his White House position after both of his ex-wives accused him of domestic violence, claims he said at the time amounted to “a mere allegation.”
“Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?” Trump tweeted (https://tinyurl.com/yd6l4fp3).
The president’s critics were quick to call out the president over the presumed “hypocrisy”.
“For Trump, due process is a problem when people think Rob Porter is guilty of beating his ex-wives, but not a problem when government seizes guns from citizens,” Ben Shapiro, a prominent conservative and Second Amendment advocate, tweeted (https://tinyurl.com/y9ljes7l).
Critics on the left, who have long pushed for stricter gun control laws, said if former president Barack Obama had called for a violation of due process, Republicans would have called for his immediate removal from office.
“It doesn’t seem like an exaggeration to say that some Republican members of Congress would have called for Barack Obama’s impeachment if he had ever called for taking people’s guns away without due process,” The Washington Post’s James Hohmann said on the matter (https://tinyurl.com/y8ozyrbu).
Wednesday’s meeting came in the wake of a February 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida in which 17 people were killed and more than a dozen more were wounded.
The shooting led to calls from gun control advocates for stricter gun laws and background checks.