President Donald Trump claimed Tuesday that many Republicans support his push for strengthening background checks on gun sales – a view that appears at odds with what lawmakers are telling the President in private even as he presses for action.
It’s a sign of a possible divide between Trump and his party as long as the President maintains his position that background checks are a necessary response to two mass shootings earlier this month.
He upheld that view in conversations with advisers over the weekend as he began a weeklong working vacation in New Jersey, according to people familiar with the matter. Trump has said he believes he needs to take a concrete step on gun control, rather than symbolic. He’s been encouraged by some aides, including daughter Ivanka, to press on background checks.
But others – including those with more experience dealing with Washington Republicans – have appeared skeptical. There isn’t evidence yet that Trump is wielding an aggressive arm-twisting campaign for a specific piece of legislation as the Senate continues its extended vacation. And an ever-nearing reelection campaign, when support from a gun-loving base will be essential, is likely to weigh on Trump’s thinking.