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Trump, Manchin meet to discuss gun reforms

Trump, Manchin meet to discuss gun reforms
© Aaron Schwartz

President TrumpDonald TrumpUS, South Korea reach agreement on cost-sharing for troops Graham: Trump can make GOP bigger, stronger, or he 'could destroy it' Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE met with Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDemocrats near pressure point on nixing filibuster  All eyes on Manchin after COVID-19 aid passes Senate Justice: 'I'm not going to get in a food fight with Joe Manchin' on use of CARES Act funds 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 MurphyDemocrats near pressure point on nixing filibuster  Biden reignites war powers fight with Syria strike Gun violence prevention groups optimistic background check legislation can pass this Congress MORE (D-Conn.) and Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeySasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote Philly GOP commissioner on censures: 'I would suggest they censure Republican elected officials who are lying' Toomey censured by several Pennsylvania county GOP committees over impeachment vote 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."