President Donald Trump originally appeared interested in strengthening federal background check laws in the wake of deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. Then, after a phone conversation with National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre on Tuesday, Trump reportedly assured him that background checks were “off the table” and pivoted to discussing anything but guns.
It was a depressingly familiar moment for Trump, who also previously headfaked toward some minor gun control reforms after the Parkland school shooting and quickly walked them back.
But, now, according to The Daily Beast, White House officials are furious that what Trump said to LaPierre leaked to the public — and are accusing the NRA of pulling a “dick move” on them. Some officials are also disputing the nature of what Trump promised the NRA on this call.
“The call occurred,” admitted one senior White House official, but “The president has not mentioned supporting universal background checks … meaningful background checks remain on the table.” Other officials have denied that the words “universal background checks” came up at all in the conversation.
Despite these denials, Trump clearly has dug in on the NRA’s side against gun control, saying on Wednesday that it represents a “slippery slope,” and stating at his rallies and to reporters that his main plan for fighting gun violence is to bring back insane asylums.