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President Donald Trump and NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre in the White House in 2017. Photo: Michael Reynolds - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump told reporters Tuesday the U.S. already has "very, very strong background" background checks for guns, as he emphasized mental health issues when asked to clarify his stance following 2 mass shootings this month.

The big picture: The president's comments came as National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre said in a Twitter post he had spoken with Trump on Tuesday.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

We are very strong on our Second Amendment. ... You know they call it the slippery slope, and all of a sudden everything gets taken away. We’re not going to let that happen."
— President Trump remarks to reporters

Why it matters: Trump's call with LaPierre is the latest sign that his initial motivation to pass meaningful and aggressive legislation in the aftermath of the shootings in El Paso and Dayton has faded.

  • It shows his relationship with the NRA remains strong, having told the gun right's group's conference in 2017 he "will come through" for them.
  • The New York Times notes that Trump's recent dealings with gun rights advocates "have been a reminder that even if his initial instinct after the mass shootings this month was to say he would press for aggressive gun legislation, any such push would be seen as a betrayal of the NRA members who helped elect him."

What he's saying: When asked by reporters to clarify his position on enhanced background checks, Trump would not comment on the 2 gun control bills that passed in the House earlier this year, other than to say "we are in very meaningful discussions with the Democrats." 

"[W]e’re looking at different things. And I have to tell you that it is a mental problem.  And I’ve said it a hundred times: It’s not the gun that pulls the trigger; it’s the person that pulls the trigger.  These are sick people, and it is also that kind of a problem."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Hope King, author of Closer
Updated 51 mins ago - Economy & Business

Peloton pumps its brakes

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Peloton’s popularity is falling as swiftly as it shot up.

Why it matters: Not all pandemic habits stick around. Peloton's trajectory over the past two years exemplifies how challenging it's been for companies to gauge shifts in consumer demand — particularly in sectors heavily altered by the pandemic.

Mitch McConnell's remarks on Black voters raise ire

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during a Capitol Hill news conference earlier this year. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been widely criticized for comments he made this week about Black American voters.

Driving the news: When asked by a reporter Wednesday about concerns among voters of color, McConnell said "the concern is misplaced, because if you look at the statistics, Black American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump’s friends worry legal pick for N.Y. case lacks experience

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Close associates and advisers to Donald Trump tell Axios they're concerned by his decision to use a relatively inexperienced New Jersey attorney, Alina Habba, in his high-stakes legal fight against New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Why it matters: A former president typically has access to the country's most prestigious experts, including lawyers. Trump has turned to the former general counsel for a parking garage company, who works from a small law office near his Bedminster, N.J., country club.

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