President Trump assured NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre that he would not support universal background check legislation during a Tuesday phone call, after publicly considering supporting such a bill in response to a pair of mass shootings that rocked the nation earlier this month, The Atlantic first reported.
In the days following the back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton earlier this month, Trump became excited about the prospect of announcing sweeping background check legislation during a high-profile White House Rose Garden event. He called LaPierre on August 7 to gauge the NRA’s support for the proposal but was quickly rebuffed.
Trump then called LaPierre back on Tuesday to assure him that he had abandoned his previous support for the legislation.
“He was cementing his stance that we already have background checks and that he’s not waffling on this anymore,” an unnamed source told The Atlantic. “He doesn’t want to pursue it.”
The NRA confirmed in a Monday tweet that LaPierre spoke with the president Tuesday to discuss how to stem the recent increase in mass shootings.
I spoke to the president today. We discussed the best ways to prevent these types of tragedies. @realDonaldTrump is a strong #2A President and supports our Right to Keep and Bear Arms! – Wayne LaPierre
— NRA (@NRA) August 20, 2019
Trump began to retreat on his support for universal background check legislation in recent days after initially touting the “great appetite” for the bill, a version of which passed the Democratically controlled House earlier this year.
“We have very, very strong background checks right now. But we have sort of missing areas and areas that don’t complete the whole circle, and we’re looking at different things,” Trump said during an Oval Office meeting with Romanian president Klaus Iohannis Tuesday afternoon.
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer predicted Trump’s seeming reversal on background check legislation in a Monday statement.
“We’ve seen this movie before: President Trump, feeling public pressure in the immediate aftermath of a horrible shooting, talks about doing something meaningful to address gun violence, but inevitably, he backtracks in response to pressure from the NRA and the hard-right,” Schumer said. “These retreats from President Trump are not only disappointing but also heartbreaking, particularly for the families of the victims of gun violence.”
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Wayne LaPierre as the president of the NRA. La Pierre is the executive vice president.