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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

Former Blizzard CEO says he "failed” women at the studio

Image: Neville Elder / Getty Images

Mike Morhaime, who co-founded and worked at video game studio Blizzard for 28 years, has apologized publicly for toxic work conditions at his former studio, which is now the subject of a discrimination and harassment lawsuit by the state of California.

Why it matters: Morhaime is no longer at Blizzard, but was its leader for most of its existence and therefore was in charge when much of what is alleged in California’s suit would have occurred.

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NFL to fine unvaccinated players $14K for violating COVID-19 protocols

Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs wears a facemask while preparing for the start of Super Bowl LV. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The NFL will fine unvaccinated players $14,650 if they violate COVID-19 protocols this season, ESPN reports.

The big picture: The rule change comes two days after the NFL announced that postponed games due to coronavirus outbreaks among unvaccinated players or staffers will not be rescheduled and teams responsible for delays will automatically forfeit.

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