WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns

The White House on Monday downplayed President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump pushes back on recent polling data, says internal numbers are 'strongest we've had so far' Illinois state lawmaker apologizes for photos depicting mock assassination of Trump Scaramucci assembling team of former Cabinet members to speak out against Trump MORE's statement last week calling for a bypass of due process to get guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals.

Speaking with lawmakers at the White House last Wednesday, Trump told lawmakers that he supports a plan to "take the guns first, go through due process second."

When pressed on the comments, which have drawn serious criticism from gun-rights supporters and Republican lawmakers, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to distance the president from that claim.

"The president thinks we need to expedite the process. He wants to make sure that if somebody is potentially harmful to themselves or other people that we have the ability to expedite that process," she said during a press conference on Monday. 

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"Still want to have due process, but we want to make sure it is not tied up for months and months and months, and someone that could potentially be dangerous is allowed to have a gun without us being able to expedite that process.”

Trump's comments drove a wedge in the Republican push to address gun violence following last month's shooting at a Florida high school.

During the meeting last week, Vice President Pence sparked Trump's comment when he brought up his support for a plan to petition a judge to decide whether to bar someone who could be dangerous from keeping their weapon.

Pence specifically called to "allow due process, so that no one's rights are trampled."

Republican senators like Sens. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump lauds tariffs on China while backtracking from more To cash in on innovation, remove market barriers for advanced energy technologies Feds face mounting pressure over Epstein's death MORE (Neb.) and Patrick 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 (Pa.) criticized Trump's comments following the nationally televised meeting.

National Rifle Association spokeswoman Jennifer Baker released a statement Wednesday evening that argued that while the "meeting made for great tv, the gun-control proposals discussed would make for bad policy that would not keep our children safe."

The group did not specifically mention Trump's apparent support for skipping due process in these cases. But Chris Cox, a top NRA aide, tweeted on Thursday that he had a "great meeting" with Pence and Trump, where they both said they "support strong due process and don't want gun control."