Trump could very well cave to the NRA, just like he did after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Trump has been suggesting in private conversations and public statements that he is open to gun safety legislation requiring universal background checks — and that has the NRA swooping in to tell him to stop, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
Trump's sudden willingness to express support for background checks came after more than 30 people were murdered in mass shooting incidents in El Paso and Dayton over the weekend.
On Monday, Trump signaled support for gun safety legislation, saying that "Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform."
On Tuesday, Trump got a call from NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre. According to the Post, LaPierre argued against the background check legislation, and the two men had additional conversations on Wednesday.
The NRA also spent $1.6 million opposing the background check bill passed by the House earlier this year, and spent $55 million helping Trump's campaign in 2016.
Meanwhile, one of Trump's most loyal acolytes in the House of Representatives, Florida Republican Matt Gaetz, is rushing to defend the NRA just days after the weekend's mass shootings, claiming the group "promot[es] the responsible, safe use of firearms."
Between pressure from the NRA and Trump's favorite Republicans in Congress, it's not impossible that he will back down from his calls for background checks, even though, according to a May 22 poll, 94% of American support universal background checks, including 90% of gun owners.
If the scenario of Trump expressing support for gun safety bills only to cave to NRA resistance sounds familiar, that's because it has happened before.
After the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida, left more than 20 people dead last year, Trump also expressed an openness to gun safety legislation. Until the NRA got involved.
Trump "favored bold action after Parkland, until Wayne LaPierre started whispering in his ear," John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, said in a statement. "If the president is serious about leading now, then he'll break with the NRA and tell Majority Leader McConnell to bring the Senate back and pass background checks and Red Flag legislation."
Police chiefs and mayors have called on Congress to pass the background check bill. A majority of Americans want Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to cancel the August recess to pass gun safety legislation already passed in the House.
But so far, McConnell has resisted the calls to take any action whatsoever, allowing the legislation to languish on his desk. And unless Trump can summon the courage to stand up to the NRA this time, Republicans will once again block anything from being done to prevent the next mass shooting from happening.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.