Trump to Mar-a-Lago Guests: ‘Should I Support Gun Control?’

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In the wake of the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the gun control debate is once again front and center in the American media. The shooting and its aftermath has overshadowed the Olympics, and the findings in the Russian election meddling investigation, even the domestic abuse allegations against Trump’s own staffers. And now his critics say President Trump is finally interested in talking about guns.

It remains unclear if the shooting in Parkland, Florida will be enough to get the president to turn on his base, but it is clear that he’s considering it.

Immediately after the shooting, President Trump tweeted out the expected condolences. He made an official White House proclamation.

The day after the shooting, Trump pointed to mental health concerns. “So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!” he tweeted.

As the week progressed, it appeared the calls to action from the public were influencing the president’s decision making.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed that Trump spoke with Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn Friday, about a bill the Texas Republican had introduced in conjunction Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., which aims to “improve federal compliance with criminal background check legislation.”

“While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered,” Sanders said, “the president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system.”

The president has traveled to Florida, where he’s been meeting with survivors and first responders. He’s scheduled to meet students and teachers Wednesday for a listening session.

Yet he seems open to listen to others, too. A Washington Post report claims he’s asking guests at Mar-a-Lago what he should do about guns:


“The president also surveyed Mar-a-Lago Club members about whether he ought to champion gun control measures in the wake of last week’s school massacre in nearby Parkland, telling them that he was closely monitoring the media appearances by some of the surviving students, according to people who spoke with him there.”

What influence will this have on a president who is notably disconnected from those in his base who support the Second Amendment?