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Trump, Manchin meet to discuss gun reforms

Trump, Manchin meet to discuss gun reforms
© Aaron Schwartz

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden adds to vote margin over Trump after Milwaukee County recount Krebs says allegations of foreign interference in 2020 election 'farcical'  Republicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden MORE met with Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinMajor unions back Fudge for Agriculture secretary Voters split on eliminating the filibuster: poll OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight MORE (D-W.Va.) on Thursday to discuss gun legislation in the wake of a recent spate of mass shootings. 

An aide to the Democratic senator, who was already at the White House for a Medal of Freedom ceremony, confirmed that the two met Thursday to discuss guns.

Spokespeople for the White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about the meeting, which was initially reported by The Wall Street Journal.

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The White House meeting comes as Congress is set to return to Washington on Monday from its five-week August recess.

Days after lawmakers left town more than 30 people were killed in mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas. Another seven people were killed in Odessa, Texas, during a shooting on Saturday.

Lawmakers and Trump have floated a wide range of potential responses to the shootings, but so far have failed to nail down a legislative option that could pass the House and Senate and get signed by Trump.

Manchin is part of a small group of senators who have been locked in talks with the White House since the Dayton and El Paso shootings. In addition to Manchin, Sens. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyRepublicans ready to become deficit hawks again under a President Biden Democrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Biden decides on pick for secretary of State MORE (D-Conn.) and Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyAppeals court rules NSA's bulk phone data collection illegal Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel GOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy MORE (R-Pa.) have been talking to the White House to try to get a deal on expanding background checks.

A White House official told The Wall Street Journal that the "president expressed interest in getting a result" so talks would continue.

"Conversations will continue to see if there’s a way to create a reasonable background check proposal, along with other ideas," the official added.

Manchin and Toomey previously offered legislation that would expand background checks to all commercial gun sales, but that proposal failed in the Senate, then controlled by Democrats, in 2013. 

Supporters acknowledge that Trump's strong support will be needed to get a background checks bill through the Senate, where Republicans are unlikely to embrace new gun reforms without political cover.

The White House is also expected to roll out its own gun reform proposal, but has offered few details about what it will include. 

Trump initially talked up his support for stronger background checks, but has more recently focused on mental health. After last weekend's shooting in West Texas he said that “for the most part, as strong as you make your background checks, they would not have stopped any of it."