Both President Trump and the National Rifle Association said they had a “great” meeting Thursday evening at the White House, one day after the president roiled gun rights advocates when he suggested illegally taking away guns from dangerous people.
In an enthusiastic tweet, Trump said he had a “Good (Great) meeting in the Oval Office tonight with the NRA!”
Good (Great) meeting in the Oval Office tonight with the NRA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 2, 2018
That came about an hour after NRA Executive Director Chris Cox said he was assured that Trump not only supports the Second Amendment, but also backs “strong due process and don’t want gun control.”
I had a great meeting tonight with @realDonaldTrump & @VP. We all want safe schools, mental health reform and to keep guns away from dangerous people. POTUS & VPOTUS support the Second Amendment, support strong due process and don’t want gun control. #NRA #MAGA
— Chris Cox (@ChrisCoxCap6) March 2, 2018
On Wednesday, while meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers for a discussion on gun control, Trump not only floated the idea of ignoring due process, but also stunned Republicans when he appeared to side with Democrats on gun control.
At one point he disagreed with Vice President Mike Pence’s statement that no one’s rights should be trampled in gun control legislation.
“Take the firearms first and then go to court,” Trump said. “Because that’s another system — a lot of times by the time you go to court, it takes so long to go to court, to get the due process procedures.” He added, “I like taking the guns early. Like, in this crazy man’s case that just took place in Florida. He had a lot of firearms, they saw everything. To go to court would have taken a long time. You could do exactly what you’re saying, but take the guns first, go through due process second.”
There have been renewed calls of late for some form of gun control measures following a shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., which left 17 people dead and several more injured.
Trump expressed openness to a bill with comprehensive background checks and fixes to the FBI’s instant background check system. He also seemed to support the idea of raising the legal buying age for a rifle purchase from 18 to 21.
While the NRA is supportive of legislation to “fix” the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, the group opposes raising the minimum age requirement to purchase guns.
Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old confessed shooter in last week’s shooting, lawfully purchased the AR-15-style rifle that was used to conduct the attack. Some Republicans, including Florida Gov. Rick Scott, have since defied the NRA, calling for the age limit to purchase rifles to be raised to 21.
Trump has repeatedly called out the NRA in the past several days, noting during the meeting Wednesday that some of the lawmakers in attendance were “petrified” of the NRA and that the powerful gun lobby had “less” control over him.
The president also recently told a gathering of governors, “Don’t worry about the NRA. They’re on our side.”
But, he added, “if they’re not with you, we have to fight them every once in awhile. That’s OK. They’re doing what they think is right.”
Trump’s apparent turnaround with the NRA during their meeting Wednesday is very similar to how he appeared to embrace the Democratic point of view on immigration during a meeting in January. Like that meeting, members of the media were allowed in the room to tape some of the discussion on guns, and by extension, caught a glimpse of some of the perplexed Republicans and gleeful Democrats.