Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill’s 12: 30 Report: Bolton out as national security adviser Suburban anxiety drives GOP on guns Democrats play to Trump’s ego on guns MORE (R-Ky.) told reporters Tuesday that the White House is preparing a proposal to respond to the “horrendous” shootings last month and that he will withhold judgment on how to proceed until he sees President TrumpDonald John Trump5 things to watch in critical NC race Remembering 9/11: How the suicide attacks led to two vastly different wars Conservative strategist calls Steyer’s 2020 bid a ‘vanity run’ MORE’s plan.
“We had a briefing at lunch from Eric Ueland from down at the White House. They are working on coming up with a proposal that the president will sign. Until that happens, all of this is theatrics,” McConnell said after the Senate GOP lunch, which White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland attended.
“These horrendous shootings, in my opinion, deserve a response. I hope we can get something that can actually become the law of the United States of America,” McConnell later added.
Some Republicans say there is now more GOP support for expanding background checks along the lines of the proposal sponsored in 2013 by Sens. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyNSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump’s ‘due process’ remark on guns MORE (R-Pa.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSuburban anxiety drives GOP on guns Democrats play to Trump’s ego on guns Romney signals he’s open to bipartisan background check bill MORE (D-W.Va.), which would have required background checks for all firearms sales on the internet and at gun shows.
McConnell, however, was careful not to get out ahead of Trump.
Asked if there is more support for background checks, McConnell said, “I can’t handicap the outcome.”
“We’re waiting for something we know if it passed would actually become law and until the White House gives us some indication of what the president is willing to sign, we’re waiting to see what it looks like,” he said.
Asked whether he personally thought it reasonable to mandate background checks for all commercial gun sales, McConnell replied, “I’m going to wait and assess the proposal that actually could become law.”
“At that point I’ll be happy to explain my vote one way or the other,” he said.
McConnell said Republicans “are engaged here with a level of seriousness that I see as completely nonexistent on the other side,” referring to Democrats.
McConnell hit Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer slams Ross for ‘thuggish behavior’ over reportedly threatening to fire officials Top Democrats press Trump on background checks legislation GOP senator on gun reform: Trump needs to ‘set some guidelines’ on what he’ll sign MORE (D-N.Y.) and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill’s Morning Report – Can Trump save GOP in North Carolina special election? Democrats race against clock with push for impeachment Democrats play to Trump’s ego on guns MORE (D-Calif.) for calling on Republicans Monday to take up a House-passed gun control measure.
The GOP leader dismissed their call as a political “stunt” because Trump has already said he will veto it.
“For months, what I have said consistently is let’s see if we can actually make a law here. And making a law when you have divided government is challenging,” he said. “My members know the very simple fact that to make a law you have to have a presidential signature.”
Updated: 4: 28 p.m.