3 senators could change Trump’s mind on background checks

(File photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

Three senators, two Democrats and a moderate Republican, are pressuring President Donald Trump to support more stringent background checks in response to a rash of shootings in America.

This “unusual coalition” is working to persuade the president to stand up to the NRA, Politico reported.

Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., are partnering with Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Penn., in an urgent push to get the president on board.

The lawmakers are pushing legislation that expands background checks to include sales over the Internet and at gun shows, while exempting any sales between family, friends, and coworkers.

“The president’s likely close to making up his mind and he’s getting a lot of pressure from the other side,” Toomey told Murphy last week on the Senate floor, according to the online political news source. “We need to get before the president and make our pitch before he has a decision-making meeting.”

The trio reportedly spoke on the phone with Trump for 40 minutes in an attempt to pass legislation that would allegedly help “curb gun violence.”

One obstacle they may have to overcome is some recent criticism Murphy directed at Trump, having said that the president “behaves like a child.”

“The president said a lot of things I deeply disagreed with. I tried my best to hold my tongue,” Murphy said of the discussion with Trump. “I did my best to stay focused on finding common ground on guns.”

The president gave some indication after shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that he may support universal background checks, but later distanced himself from that stance while speaking of efforts to address mass shootings, insisting “they would not have stopped any of it.”

“It’s been going on for a long while, background checks,” he said. “I will say that for the most part, sadly, if you look at the last four or five, going back even five or six or seven years, for the most part, as strong as you make your background checks, they would not have stopped any of it.”

The comment came after reports that Trump assured National Rifle Association Chief Wayne LaPierre that universal background checks are dead.

LaPierre has cautioned the president that supporting tougher background checks will not be popular with his base, many of whom are staunch Second Amendment supporters.

There’s not a lot of confidence that this “Gang of Three” will be able to duplicate any possible success on gun control.

“They’re a three-dimensional example of politics making strange bedfellows. I can’t imagine them finding common ground on very much outside of this space,” said Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii. “But they’re working hard to find it now.”

Thirteen Senate Republicans would have to vote for the measure to pass it, if every Democrat and the two Independents who caucus with them back it.

You can be assured that Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, will not be among them.

Cruz said last week that if Republican lawmakers cave and agree to rigid background checks, that would demoralize the party’s conservative base ahead of the 2020 election and may result in many staying home.

“If Republicans abandon the Second Amendment and demoralize millions of Americans who care deeply about Second Amendment rights, that could go a long way to electing a President Elizabeth Warren,” Cruz warned.


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