Sen. Chris Murphy warned President Trump he needs to get on board with gun control efforts because failing to do so could end up costing Republicans at the ballot box in the fall.
Murphy, D-Conn., said on ABC’s “This Week” Trump has the ability to “move mountains” on gun control, particularly universal background checks, if he fights against the National Rifle Association and Republican Party orthodoxy.
Murphy said Trump’s seeming openness to universal background checks during a White House meeting last week is a good sign.
“His instincts in that meeting are not wrong and if he and Republicans don’t start showing movement in the wake of Parkland, there aren’t going to be as many Republicans around in 2019,” Murphy said, referencing the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14 that left 17 dead and 16 injured.
Murphy said a meeting with the NRA at the White House shows Trump is still not totally on board with the idea of passing gun control legislation.
“The president is trying to have it both ways,” Murphy said. “I think he knows that the mood of the country has shifted such that he and his party will pay a huge price at the polls in 2018 and 2020 if they don’t start supporting things like universal background checks.”
But, he said Republicans should heed the signal Trump sent during the meeting indicating universal background checks for gun purchases should be on the table.
“He’s going to continue to bob and weave but what I take confidence in though is the movement that he showed in that meeting [shows] that at his foundation is not terrible political instincts,” he said, “and maybe his performance in that meeting is a signal to Republicans that if they don’t deal on the issue of background checks they’re going to pay a price in 2018, because they’re on the ballot, not the president.”