MSNBC's Michael Steele expressed doubt that Republicans intended to negotiate gun safety legislation in good faith.
The former chairman of the Republican National Committee told "Morning Joe" that Republicans had no intention of passing serious legislation in response to the deadly Uvalde massacre, and he said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) was not nearly as "rational" as President Joe Biden seems to think.
"What you're looking at is a political party and a political leadership that values the fight over inflation, the 'own-the-libs' narrative, you know, the insurrectionist, you know, efforts by Democrats, you know, to 'groom' our children over the lives of those very same children, and I think -- I was struck by the comment of, you know, someone on Capitol Hill saying that, you know, this is really something interesting that, you know, Sen. Cornyn's at the table," Steele said, "and why is that so interesting? Why are you so jacked up about that? Nothing's happened. He's there as a decoy. He's not there to actually address what the country needs to have addressed at this moment."
"This is the stall-and-delay tactic," Steele continued. "Look, they've got -- they're not back yet from their Memorial Day holiday. They're going to be in town for a couple of weeks, and then it's off for the Fourth of July. They come back for another couple of weeks, then they're off for August. When does this bill get done? When does all of this great negotiation happening, and of course, you've got [Senate minority leader Mitch] McConnell talking about something that nobody's talking about. Yeah, everybody gets mental health, part of the conversation, but the crux is what do we do about the guns being used, the AR-15s, the access by 18-year-olds."
"More kids will be killed this year than all of the other statistics combined that you showed because of his lack of concern about the fact that more kids would be killed," Steele added. "Because if that was a major concern, then guess what, there will be a serious conversation. Everything would be on the table, and the leadership from both sides would know exactly where that sweet spot is because the American people are giving them the numbers."
Substantial majorities support expanded background checks, red-flag laws and other safety measures, but Republicans won't approve them.
"It's not like we don't know somewhere the sweet spot is to move the needle here," Steele said. "It's just that the Republicans don't want to, because the NRA's told them not to. Because if they do, guess what, we're going to primary you. We're going to cut off your checks and that matters more to them than the lives of those kids being buried."
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