House Democrats said Tuesday that Speaker Paul Ryan turned down an overture from civil rights icon John Lewis, who asked Ryan if he could join Democrats in a "show of unity" against gun violence.
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., told reporters Tuesday that Lewis, D-Ga., was sent to ask what Ryan might be able to do with Democrats after the Sunday night mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 59 dead and more than 500 wounded.
"John Lewis was the member," Thompson said. "He asked if the Speaker would join the Democrats in a show of unity, on a show of action to deal with this, and we were told in caucus [meeting] today that the response was, if it has to do with policy, it's a non-starter."
Thompson didn't make clear what Democrats see as an acceptable "show of unity."
Members of the House from both parties did stand together in a moment of silence Monday to mark the shooting. A few Democrats, however, left the event as a way to protest Republican opposition to passing any legislation to tighten gun control.
Still, Ryan's response on policy is likely a sign that Republicans have no interest in a Democratic bill to create a bipartisan commission on gun violence that would be charged with recommending gun control legislation.