Trump To Lawmakers: 'You're Petrified Of The NRA'
WASHINGTON - In an hour-long meeting with Democrats and Republicans filled with newsworthy comments on gun control Wednesday, President Trump parted ways with members of his own party and accused them more than once of being "petrified" of the National Rifle Association.
"They have great power over you people," the president said to his fellow Republicans. "They have less power over me."
"Some of you are petrified of the NRA," he added. "You can't be petrified."
The White House chose to air the entire meeting between the president and more than a dozen lawmakers of both parties and chambers, an incredibly rare occasion for the public to watch the president's negotiation style and positions unfold. The president called the meeting in response to the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students dead two weeks ago.
The president reiterated some of the positions he has previously held, like arming teachers, improving background checks and restricting access to weapons for the mentally ill. But the president also interjected surprising remarks, sometimes aligning himself more with Democrats than Republicans.
The president -- who told his supporters Hillary Clinton wanted to take their guns away on the campaign trail -- suggested taking guns "early" from those who are mentally disturbed, and pursuing "due process" in court later, rattling some Republicans.
"I like taking the guns early," the president said. "... Take the guns first, go through due process second."
He flat-out declined to consider adding a provision for concealed carry reciprocity among states, something Republicans have hoped to include in major gun legislation.
"If you add concealed carry (reciprocity) to this, you'll never get it passed," the president said. "... We want to get something done."
But Mr. Trump also repeatedly emphasized he wants to see just one bill, if possible, seeming not to take seriously suggestions that including multiple proposals in one bill could lower its chance of passage.
The White House's list of expected attendees includes Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas; Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana; Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota; Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia; Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut; Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida; Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania; Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee; Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Florida; Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Connecticut; Rep. Brian Mast, R-Florida; Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Florida; Rep. John Rutherford, D-Florida and Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana. Florida's Democratic senator, Sen. Bill Nelson, was not in attendance.
Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School returned to campus for the first time Wednesday. Last week, Mr. Trump held a listening session with some of those students, and other students and families affected by school shootings. He has also met with governors on the topic.
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