Democrats were pressing President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on several fronts Tuesday to take action on curbing guns and white supremacists, fueled by public outrage over this month’s mass killings in Texas and Ohio.
It was unclear what if any impact Democrats’ moves would have on the capital’s top Republicans. Both Trump and McConnell have expressed a new openness to unspecified gun curbs following recent back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, but their decisions will be based on the sentiment of fellow Republicans, not predictable pressure tactics by Democrats.
Still, the Democrats’ moves underscore a shift to an issue that largely unites them — responding to the massacres that killed 31 people — and away from the party’s hand-wringing over whether to impeach Trump, a question that deeply divides Democrats.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called on Trump to divert $5 billion he’s wanted to build his wall along the southern border to investigating domestic terrorism and conducting research on gun violence.
“The dual scourges of gun violence and violent white supremacist extremism in this country are a national security threat plain and simple, and it’s time the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress starting treating them as such,” Schumer said in a statement.
Patrick Crusius, 21, accused of the El Paso shootings, has told authorities he was targeting Mexicans.
No. 2 House Democrat Steny Hoyer and other Democrats planned a news conference to call on McConnell to let his chamber vote on a House-passed measure requiring background checks for nearly all gun purchases.
And the Democratic-run House Judiciary Committee is considering returning from summer recess to hold early September votes on gun control legislation, according to people familiar with the panel’s plans who weren’t authorized to speak on the record.