The president has repeated his NRA-friendly approach to gun control, calling for teachers to be armed (‘the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun’) . Yet that he is attempting to have it both ways (calling for a ban on bump stocks and supporting Congressional action on background checks), is of less interest than how Trump is using his office and the informal, soft power that it affords. Trump is attempting to be the “empathiser-in-chief” that Bill Clinton mastered after the Oklahoma bombing (a strategy that proabably helped secure that president’s reelection). I haven’t really seen Trump simply sit in a room and listen to people, adopting the “I feel your pain” approach and taking a back seat to their concerns, which other presidents have often adopted after disasters and crisis. Whether it will work after another mass shooting at a school is anyone’s guess, particularly given the contradictory statements that Trump is putting out. However, use this example to show how presidents seek to use their Head of State powers, where the president takes the role of “comforter-in chief”. If they get it right, their authority increases, so too their approval ratings, yet Trump is often a tweet away from undoing what he has started.
Watch how a grieving father speaks directly to the president about the gun violence that took his daughter.