Trump, Manchin meet to discuss gun reforms

Trump, Manchin meet to discuss gun reforms
© Aaron Schwartz

President TrumpDonald John TrumpAlaska Republican Party cancels 2020 primary Ukrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' MORE met with Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinO'Rourke gun confiscation talk alarms Democrats Clarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump Schumer: I don't know any 'Democrat who agrees' with O'Rourke on gun seizures 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 hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights GOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan Trump administration floats background check proposal to Senate GOP MORE (D-Conn.) and Pat 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 (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."