Todd Whines Over ‘Very Extreme’ GOP Defending Gun Rights

On MSNBC’s MTP Daily Friday afternoon, host Chuck Todd just couldn’t believe that Republicans weren’t caving to left-wing pressure to enact federal gun control measures. The anchor wailed that the GOP had become “very extreme” when it came to protecting Second Amendment rights and bemoaned the lack of “moderate” Republicans who would sign on to Democratic Party agenda items.

“We saw more than a handful of Republicans accuse President Biden of a gun grab after his comments and executive orders yesterday, even though gun reform advocates saw the actions as modest,” Todd complained, citing gun control activists as if they provided some sort fact-check to the GOP.

 

 

Turning to Capitol Hill correspondent Garrett Haake, an exasperated Todd proclaimed: “…the language that elected Republicans used yesterday in response – and frankly, the enthusiasm with the language that they used – it indicates that we are farther apart from whatever a middle looks like than we were in 2013, 2015, 2017 at this point. Is that fair?”

Haake agreed and suggested that Republican opposition to Biden’s gun restrictions was really just a political distraction:

I think it may be. The political imperatives for Republicans are that gun rights and the idea that a Democratic president might be coming to take your guns, which is the kind of language we saw in these releases yesterday and statements from lawmakers, that frankly doesn’t bear much resemblance to these executive orders, that is seen as safer political ground for Republicans right now. They would much rather be fighting against a – what they would call a Democratic overreach on gun reform than arguing against money for their own districts and states in the form of the infrastructure projects. I mean, it’s a kind of a classic cultural issue here.         

Todd then argued that Montana Senator Steve Daines was now a “bomb-thrower” because the Republican lawmaker reasonably fact-checked and voiced disagreement with the President:

TODD: I don’t consider Steve Daines, Montana Senator – yes, it’s Montana, a rural state – but he’s not somebody that I considered a bomb-thrower in the past. Take a listen to what he said.

SEN. STEVE DAINES [R-MT]: Look, I mean, “ghost guns” sound scary. We’re talking about here really hobbyists that put together parts for firearms. And so that’s not the problem. I can tell you, it’s not going to make us any safer, it just infringes on our Second Amendment rights. It infringes on law-abiding Americans who exercise that right lawfully everyday.

The liberal host never explained what about the statement from Daines was a rhetorical “bomb.” Instead, he just ranted against Republicans: “And so my point is it does seem as if the right has shifted to a very extreme position on the Second Amendment in a collective fashion.”

Haake feared that “mainstream Republicanism got squashed during the Trump years” and warned “there is a much diminished sense of what it means to be a moderate Republican anymore on any of these issues.” He frustratingly asked: “Who, in what you might consider the moderate wing of the Republican Party, could provide cover for wanting to restrict gun rights in any way, right?”

The reporter longed for the days when GOP members of Congress would shut down conservatives: “I mean, the group of people who might have said, ‘If we band together, we can discuss this issue and protect ourselves from our own right flank,’ doesn’t really exist anymore in the modern Republican Party.”

Exactly how many Democrats are eager to stand up the radical left wing of their party? When some, like Joe Manchin, actually do, they get pilloried by the liberal press. Meanwhile, hacks like Todd and Haake only demand Republicans become “moderate.”

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Here is a transcript of the April 9 discussion:

1:43 PM ET

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CHUCK TODD: These headlines, though, come as President Biden announced a series of executive actions on guns yesterday. But he acknowledged that his power is limited. He criticized efforts to oppose gun reform measures in Congress, saying that the Second Amendment is, quote, “not absolute.” We saw more than a handful of Republicans accuse President Biden of a gun grab after his comments and executive orders yesterday, even though gun reform advocates saw the actions as modest. Though they called them important actions.

Freshman Colorado Republican Lauren Boebert, for instance, criticized the President, saying, “The Second Amendment is absolute. Anyone who says otherwise is a tyrant.” Somebody needs to tell her what Antonin Scalia said about the Second Amendment, even he said that. There was, however, one Senate Republican who signaled an openness for reform, it’s the one Senate Republican who has always signaled an openness for reform, it’s Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey.

Joining me now on Capitol Hill with the latest is Garrett Haake. And Garrett, I think to me it’s sort of like, you want to read tea leaves, the language that elected Republicans used yesterday in response – and frankly, the enthusiasm with the language that they used – it indicates that we are farther apart from whatever a middle looks like than we were in 2013, 2015, 2017 at this point. Is that fair?

GARRETT HAAKE: I think it may be. The political imperatives for Republicans are that gun rights and the idea that a Democratic president might be coming to take your guns, which is the kind of language we saw in these releases yesterday and statements from lawmakers, that frankly doesn’t bear much resemblance to these executive orders, that is seen as safer political ground for Republicans right now. They would much rather be fighting against a – what they would call a Democratic overreach on gun reform than arguing against money for their own districts and states in the form of the infrastructure projects. I mean, it’s a kind of a classic cultural issue here.

The statement from Toomey is interesting. You know, you can’t do this with just him alone, but you absolutely are not going to do anything in the Senate that doesn’t have him involved in it. So I think for proponents who want to see something passed through this Congress, his willingness to at least continue the discussions is a good start, but we are nowhere near getting anything across the finish line as we start here in 2021.

TODD: Actually, I want to play Steve Daines on this because I – you know, I don’t consider Steve Daines, Montana Senator – yes, it’s Montana, a rural state – but he’s not somebody that I considered a bomb-thrower in the past. Take a listen to what he said.

SEN. STEVE DAINES [R-MT]: Look, I mean, “ghost guns” sound scary. We’re talking about here really hobbyists that put together parts for firearms. And so that’s not the problem. I can tell you, it’s not going to make us any safer, it just infringes on our Second Amendment rights. It infringes on law-abiding Americans who exercise that right lawfully everyday.

TODD: Look, I can keep going on and on here. I mean, you know, in 1999, Wayne LaPierre testified about more background checks and we used to accept the idea that you should get a permit before you owned a gun. And so my point is it does seem as if the right has shifted to a very extreme position on the Second Amendment in a collective fashion. It’s not just your Lauren Boeberts, but it’s a growing faction of even mainstream Republicans.

HAAKE: Well, Chuck, it’s part and parcel with the idea that kind of mainstream Republicanism got squashed during the Trump years. I mean, there is a much diminished sense of what it means to be a moderate Republican anymore on any of these issues. Who, in what you might consider the moderate wing of the Republican Party, could provide cover for wanting to restrict gun rights in any way, right? This is not John Boehner’s Republican Party, it’s not Mitt Romney’s. It’s certainly not Mitt Romney of Massachusetts or New Hampshire’s Republican Party. Mitt Romney of Utah, who’s going to have a little bit of a different constituency when it comes to gun rights issues, even that has changed. His politics haven’t changed as much, but his location matters in this case. I mean, there is not – there are no moderate northeastern Republicans anymore, hardly, to speak of. I mean, the group of people who might have said, “If we band together, we can discuss this issue and protect ourselves from our own right flank,” doesn’t really exist anymore in the modern Republican Party. And that’s going to be a challenge. Pat Toomey is retiring.

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