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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


President Trump said Tuesday he spoke with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) about background checks following this month's mass shootings, and he's "convinced" that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wants to do something about the issue.

"There is nobody more pro-Second Amendment than Donald Trump, but I don’t want guns in the hands of a lunatic or a maniac. And I think if we do proper background checks, we can prevent that."
— Trump's remarks to reporters

Why it matters: This is another sign that Trump is looking into gun control measures, despite opposition from some conservative allies.

What he's saying: Trump said McConnell also "wants to do background checks," along with "a lot of Republicans." He said, "I don’t know, frankly, that the Democrats will get us there," but he "had a very good conversation" with Murphy.

I would like to see meaningful background checks. And I think something will happen."
— Trump's remarks to reporters

Reality check: McConnell has never publicly expressed his support for background checks, and he's ignored Democrats' pressure to call the Senate back early to vote on 2 gun measures that passed in the House but stalled in the Senate.

  • McConnell has been in touch with the bipartisan sponsors of a background checks bill that Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) introduced after the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre but fell 6 votes short of passing in 2013, NPR notes.

The big picture: Trump's remarks came hours after Axios' Alayna Treene revealed that his elder daughter, White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump, has quietly been calling lawmakers since the El Paso and Dayton massacres to gauge their openness to movement on gun legislation when Congress returns.

Between the lines: While McConnell has said that gun control bills and proposed "red flag" laws will be debated when the Senate returns from recess, several Republican lawmakers are against new gun restriction measures — including Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), a survivor of the 2017 baseball practice shooting.

  • Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he would attempt to explain to Trump that background check measures have previously failed because Republicans could not support them, according to CNN.

Yes, but: There has been movement among some GOP lawmakers in calling for gun control measures, as NPR points out. These include Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio.), who was endorsed by the National Rifle Association in the 2018 midterm elections but called for gun control action following the Dayton mass shooting this month.

  • Graham is working on bipartisan red flag legislation with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). Graham said he's trying to find some middle ground on the issue, per CNN.

The other side: Murphy tweeted that he had spoken with Trump, Manchin and Toomey on background check bills.

"We continue to work to find common ground, but as I told the President, we can't get a bill if he and the GOP give the gun lobby veto power."

Go deeper

Jack Dorsey to step down as Twitter CEO

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Jack Dorsey will step down as CEO of Twitter, the company announced Monday. He will be succeeded by CTO Parag Agrawal.

The big picture: Dorsey is also the CEO of financial payments company Square, which he co-founded in 2009, and has become a crypto evangelist in recent years.

Tracking the pandemic's unequal impact

Expand chart
Data: Morning Consult/Axios; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The pandemic was bound to hit the most economically vulnerable among us the hardest. New polling data from Morning Consult, out this morning, shows the degree to which those difficulties were more concentrated among people of color.

Catch up quick: The Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index has tracked the economic experience of adults in three wage groups since May 2020. We began publishing the findings in May of this year, and six months in, we’re slicing the data a little differently — and looking at inequality between ethnicities.

2 hours ago - Health

WHO says Omicron poses "very high" risk

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaking in Geneva in October. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization said Monday in a new risk assessment that it believes the COVID-19 Omicron variant poses a "very high" risk to the globe because it may be more transmissible than other strains of the virus.

Why it matters: Though the WHO acknowledged there are still many uncertainties associated with the variant, the agency said it believes the likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron around the world is "high."