What Trump is saying about gun control and American Jews

What Trump is saying about gun control and American Jews


WILLIAM BRANGHAM: President Trump held court
on the White House South Lawn for more than half-an-hour today, answering questions on
a wide-range of topics: gun laws, Russia, the economy, even birthright citizenship. There was a lot on the president’s mind today. Our White House correspondent, Yamiche Alcindor,
was there, and she joins me now. Hi. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Hi. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, the president covered
so many different topics today. I’m so glad you were there. One of the issues I want to talk about is
the issue of guns. We’re just over two weeks now from El Paso
and from Dayton. And the president seems to have vacillated
a little bit on his — what he wants to do about background checks. He talked about that today. Let’s take a listen to what he had to say. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
Oh, I have an appetite for background checks. We’re going to be doing background checks. We’re working with Democrats. We’re working with Republicans. We already have very strong background checks. But there are loopholes in the background
checks. And that’s what I spoke to the NRA about yesterday. They want to get rid of the loopholes, as
well as I do. At the same time, I don’t want to take away
people’s Second Amendment rights. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: We know the president has
also been talking to the head of the National Rifle Association. Do you have a better sense of what the president
willing to do about guns? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The president is clearly
in lockstep with the NRA on this issue when it comes to background checks and gun legislation
overall. He’s been talking frequently to Wayne LaPierre,
the head of the NRA. I put the question to the president, are you
also talking to mass shooting victims? He wouldn’t answer specifically that. All he would say is that I visited them in
the hospital. But then he was really misleading when it
came to the idea of what the NRA wants to do. He said Wayne LaPierre, the head of the NRA,
wants to somehow close loopholes in the background check system. And that’s completely not what the NRA says
on its own Web site. It says that they oppose expanding any sort
of background checks. They also say that they take issue with the
idea that there any sort of gun loopholes in the system right now. Now, critics would say that’s completely not
true. In fact, they would say online sales and at
gun shows, personal person-to-person private gun sales, you don’t need background checks
for that. So that’s why a lot of people want universal
background checks. But the president so far is not supporting
that issue. So it’s going to — we’re going to have to
see where the president goes with this. But it’s pretty clear that he’s leaning toward
whatever that NRA wants to support. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: On another issue, for the
second day in a row, the president seemed to question the loyalty of Jewish Americans
who support Democrats. Let’s listen to what he said about that today. DONALD TRUMP: They don’t want to fund Israel. They want to take away foreign aid to Israel. They want to do a lot of bad things, Israel. In my opinion, you vote for a Democrat, you’re
being very disloyal to Jewish people, and you’re being very disloyal to Israel. And only weak people would say anything other
than that. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: How did the president respond
to the criticism that, when you start talking about loyalty in relation to Jewish people,
that that relies on some pretty anti-Semitic ideas? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The president completely
doubled down on his attacks on American Jews, and did not back away from the idea that,
if they vote for Democrats, that they are disloyal, and that they are not using good
knowledge in doing so. Now, it’s important to note just how many
American Jews support Democrats. About 75 percent of American Jews supported
Democrats in the midterms. And, overwhelmingly, American Jews support
Democrats overall. It’s important to also note that the president,
when he — when he was asked about whether or not some of his words might be anti-Semitic,
he said that he hadn’t heard that criticism. But it’s important to also look at the groups
that are calling the president out. The Anti-Defamation League criticized him
for using other people who say that that’s anti-Semitic to say that Jews are disloyal. Also, J Street, a liberal advocacy group that’s
involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they called the president’s words dangerous
and shameful. So while the president is not backing down,
there are Jewish leaders and civil rights groups who are saying the president should
not be using this language. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I know you have been watching
this president for a long time. And, today, it seemed like he really did have
a lot of anger and sort of fury and fire that he was shooting at the Democrats. Do you have a sense of what’s driving that? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The president is really,
I think, making the case for his 2020 election. He is trying to posit himself as this person
who is the only person who can fix the country’s ill and that Democrats have really led this
country astray. You see that when he talked about Denmark
and saying that he canceled his trip there. He said, maybe Denmark could have called the
country — or called out the country under President Obama, but with me as president,
that’s not going to happen. The same thing on immigration. He said, oh, President Obama — he said falsely
that President Obama separated immigrant children. That’s, of course, not true. But, even more, he said Democrats were essentially
letting open borders and letting all sorts of immigrants in. That’s also not true. But, really, it comes down to the president’s
strategy when it comes to reelection. He has to say, Democrats are trying to destroy
your way of life, in order to really what he thinks is bring out the turnout in his
voters. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Yamiche, we will talk about
those that Denmark and those immigration issues later in the show. Thank you. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Thanks.

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