Competing factions inside the White House have stymied efforts to unite behind gun legislation, further delaying President Donald Trump from getting behind any plan.
On one side is Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and adviser, and Attorney General William Barr. Both are urging the president to back new firearms restrictions — including expanded background checks for gun sales — insisting he can be the leader who succeeds on an intractable issue that has bedeviled his predecessors and that he can win back moderate suburban voters in the process, according to people involved in the discussions.
On the other side, a group that includes Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son and an avid hunter, and a top aide to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, is telling Trump he risks losing support from his conservative base if he pushes too aggressively on new gun control legislation, they say.
Then there’s Trump, who has heard all of these arguments privately but publicly hasn’t committed to any plan. For weeks, he’s left Washington guessing on whether he’d support any gun control legislation and what form the legislation would take.
The competing forces have created paralysis with just about everybody involved in the discussions — most notably senators — and have delayed the White House’s release of its long-awaited package, possibly jeopardizing the effort to enact meaningful legislation following this summer’s mass shootings that claimed dozens of lives.
The White House didn’t initially respond to a request for comment but after publication spokesman Hogan Gidley refuted the story.
“This is ridiculous, we are completely united in developing exactly what the President wants — which are meaningful solutions that will protect the second Amendment, make American communities safer and potentially prevent these types of tragedies from ever occurring again,” he said in a statement.