President uses weekly address to call for consideration of ‘common sense’ measures excluded from gun control bill
President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Congress to vote over a ban on controversial military-style assault weapons and restrictions on ammunition, despite widespread predictions that such a vote would fail.
Ever since the Newtown school massacre at the end of last year, Obama has been pushing to introduce fresh gun control laws, arguing that a rash of mass shootings last year has left the American public demanding action. But the effort has faced a withering backlash from gun owners’ groups, like the powerful National Rifle Association, and their political allies in both parties.
Last week, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, introduced gun legislation that did not include the so-called assault weapons ban, nor another proposal backed by the Obama administration that would place limits on magazine capacities. Reid admitted that he dropped those elements because any bill with them in would get fewer than 40 votes – far below the threshold needed to defeat a filibuster or pass the Senate.
Yet Obama, in his weekly radio address, insisted that a vote on the fuller version of the bill was needed. “These ideas shouldn’t be controversial – they’re common sense. They’re supported by a majority of the American people. And I urge the Senate and the House to give each of them a vote,” the president said.
Such a move – though likely to be defeated in a vote – would at least force politicians into actually coming out against the new gun control law: a political risk and potential public relations disaster that many might be nervous about.
Obama said that in the three months since Newtown, public opinion had shifted in the country to back the sort of measures that previously would have been unpopular. “As a nation, the last three months have changed us. They’ve forced us to answer some difficult questions about what we can do – what we must do – to prevent the kinds of massacres we’ve seen,” he said.
That might not be as true as Obama would like to believe. In the face of a concerted campaign by the NRA and anti-gun law politicians, public opinion in favour of major controls has actually been dropping. Just after the Newtown massacre – which left 20 children and six adults dead at Sandy Hook elementary school – some 52% of Americans were found to be in favour of major restrictions on guns. But that number has since dropped to 43%, according to a CNN/ORC poll released earlier this week.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]
WATCH: Trump stops ABC film crew to restart interview after his chief of staff coughed
President Donald Trump was very displeased when his chief of staff had the audacity to cough or sneeze during his interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos. The full interview finally aired on "20/20" Sunday, showing the president in the Oval Office and outside in the Rose Garden.
The ABC interview showed the moment where Mick Mulvaney coughed, and Trump stopped the interview abruptly.
The two were discussing why Trump wouldn't release his taxes.
Trump spends ABC interview trying to discredit Robert Mueller as ‘conflicted’
President Donald Trump spent most of his interview with George Stephanopoulos blasting Special Counsel Robert Mueller, while he incorrectly quoted the report he published.
"I don't care what he says. It doesn't matter," Trump said when Stephanopoulos cited the Mueller report. "He wanted to show everyone what a good counsel he was. Now, he may have gotten confused said with that fact that I've always said, 'Robert Mueller was conflicted. He had numerous conflicts. One of them was the fact that he applied for to job to be the FBI director -- the head of the FBI. And, by the way --"
Stephanopoulos stepped in to say that former top aide Steve Bannon said that it never happened.
Donald Trump whines: ‘My life has always been a fight’
The full interview with President Donald Trump finally aired on ABC Sunday, revealing the shocking way that he views his life.
Trump lamented that he's had such a hard life, as the son of multi-millionaires who paid to get him out of trouble multiple times.
"You're a fighter. You, you, it feels like you're in a constant kind of churn--" host George Stephanopoulos began.
"Yeah, uh, my life has always been a fight," Trump said. "And I enjoy that I guess, I don't know if I enjoy it or not, I guess -- sometimes I have false fights like the Russian witch hunt. That's a false fight. That's a made-up, uh, hoax. And I had to fight that."