President Trump has puzzled critics and supporters alike over his stand on new gun restrictions, waffling back and forth between calling for bold new measures and reassuring the National Rifle Association that little will change.
Despite his own indecision, Trump says Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke is the one torpedoing the talks with congressional leaders.
Trump called O’Rourke a “Dummy” for backing an assault weapons ban.
“(He) convinced many that Dems just want to take your guns away,” Trump tweeted.
Dummy Beto made it much harder to make a deal. Convinced many that Dems just want to take your guns away. Will continue forward! https://t.co/87jvaYUkyn
O’Rourke fired back by calling Trump a coward for refusing to take a stand on guns.
“The only thing stopping us from ending this epidemic (of gun violence) is you,” O’Rourke tweeted.
To be clear: We will buy back every single assault weapon.
We‘ll also license every gun & do a background check on every buyer. That’s what the American people want—and deserve.
The only thing stopping us from ending this epidemic is you & your cowardice. Do the right thing. https://t.co/lPqAv1r9ij
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to even allow a vote on a bill mandating universal background checks for gun-buyers that passed the House of Representatives last winter.
A bipartisan group of senators is pushing a compromise bill that covers most gun purchases but talks on that bill have stalled.
Trump has ruled out consideration of an assault weapons ban like the one that was in effect for 10 years until it expired in 2004.
O’Rourke has been speaking out strongly on guns since a racist gunman opened fire at a shopping center in his hometown of El Paso, killing 22 innocent people.
At the debate, O’Rourke ditched the cautious language politicians often use about guns.
“Hell, yes, we’re going to take away your AR-15, your AK-47,” he said.
It’s not clear how Trump believes O’Rourke is influencing the gun debate in Congress. He is no longer a representative and is now languishing in the middle of the crowded Democratic presidential field.