President Donald Trump will not "lift a hand" to pass background checks, the author of the 2005 book TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald explained on MSNBC on Friday.
"Deadline: White House" anchor Nicolle Wallace interviewed journalist Tim O'Brien, who was the target of an after-midnight Trump tantrum on Twitter after a Wednesday appearance on MSNBC.
"Breaking news this afternoon that the suspect accused of carrying out last weekend’s massacre at the Walmart in El Paso, Texas, was specifically targeting Mexicans. That’s according to law enforcement officials earlier today," Wallace reported. "And that confirmation comes on the same day Donald Trump promises, as he did after the Parkland shooting, to do something on guns despite being warned not to by the NRA."
"Here’s the truth about Trump’s record on guns, the president actually threatened to veto bipartisan background check legislation. The president scrapped a rule making it harder for some mentally ill individuals to obtain guns and he’s shown little-to-no interest in stronger measures such as an assault weapons ban," she explained. "The bottom line, skeptics have every justification for their pessimism when it comes to Donald Trump, his allies in Congress and stranglehold the NRA holds over both."
For analysis, Wallace turned to O'Brien.
"I want you to explain to me sort of the organization of Donald Trump’s brain," she said. "What do you think, using your predictive powers, what happens next?"
"I don’t think he’s going to lift a hand at all on background checks," O'Brien replied.
"I don’t think he cares about it morally. I don’t think he cares about it as policy and I don’t think he cares in any way about the victims of the shootings," he said.
"He looks at this very narrowly he likes the fact the NRA came out for him early, when he began running -- he mentioned it again on the White House lawn today. He sees it as a matter of loyalty and nothing else. He realizes the NRA has essentially become the piggy bank of the GOP, giving exclusively to Republican candidates and officeholders, he likes that about them," he continued.
"When you ask me to explain the organization in his mind, there is no organization. Inside his mind there’s a putter, a cheeseburger, someone else’s credit card and a porn video and the rest of it is just an empty space where he’s figuring out how he can occupy center stage and meet these other needs he has that are very self-centered and self-involved," he suggested. "He’s not sophisticated about policy. He’s never thought it through."
"There’s a possibility NRA lacks the muscles to flex that they once did. But I’m very pessimistic about the idea that Mitch McConnell is going to suddenly step back and Donald Trump will suddenly see the light and the NRA will be inconsequential," O'Brien said. "This is money and guns. It’s not a moral issue for the people who need to change it."
"Is Donald Trump afraid of the NRA?" Wallace asked.
"Donald Trump coddles the NRA. Donald Trump loves the NRA. Donald Trump has no reason to be afraid of it because he sees them as an ally," O'Brien replied. "At the end of the day his policies are going to be lined up with the NRA's."