Flake: Trump needs to give Republicans cover on gun reforms

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeMcSally launches 2020 campaign Sinema will vote to convict Trump Senate drama surrounding Trump trial starts to fizzle MORE (R-Ariz.) said Thursday he hopes President TrumpDonald John TrumpCensus Bureau spends millions on ad campaign to mitigate fears on excluded citizenship question Bloomberg campaign: Primary is two-way race with Sanders Democratic senator meets with Iranian foreign minister MORE steps up to lead Republicans in passing gun law reforms.

“His leadership here is really critical if it’s going to get through the House and the Senate,” Flake said on “CBS This Morning.” 

He noted that he has heard this kind of talk from the president before.

“We had a similar meeting on immigration that I was at. We heard a lot of good things that Tuesday and by Thursday a lot of it had been walked back,” he continued. “I do think there’s a better chance this time that the president will lead and really get out front on this.”


Trump hosted lawmakers Wednesday for a meeting to discuss school safety and gun laws. The gathering came in response to a Feb. 14 shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school that left 17 people dead.

During the meeting, Trump surprised, and at times clashed with, Republican lawmakers. He suggested they were scared of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and therefore wouldn’t support certain reforms.

He voiced support for strengthening background checks, raising the age requirement for purchasing rifles and confiscating guns from dangerous individuals without regard for their due process rights.

Flake has recently backed proposals to raise the age requirement to purchase a rifle and block individuals on a terrorist watch list form buying a gun.

He said Thursday that Trump needs to contact Republican lawmakers directly to tell them he will sign off on specific reforms if they make it to his desk.

“That gives Republicans in Congress cover. If the president is on their side, they don’t have to worry so much about activist groups or the NRA or grass-roots organizations that may think differently,” Flake said.

The Arizona senator has frequently clashed with Trump, criticizing him for his rhetoric toward the media and other lawmakers. Flake is not seeking reelection this year.