President Donald Trump, during a meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Wednesday, shut down Republican Congressman Steve Scalise when he pitched lumping in a pro-concealed carry measure in with a broader gun control measure.
Scalise was touting a House-passed measure that would loosen gun regulations and allow those with permits to carry concealed weapons to legally travel with those firearms to other states, a top priority of the National Rifle Association.
But Trump told Scalise bluntly that it will “never” pass as part of a broader package due to Democratic opposition, where such a proposal would need at least 60 votes to advance.
The President did, however, leave open the door to taking it up in the future.
“I think that maybe someday that bill will pass but it should pass as a separate. If you’re going to put concealed carry between states into this bill, we’re talking about a whole new ballgame. I’m with you, but let it be a separate bill,” he told Scalise, who was seriously wounded by a gunman targeting a GOP congressional baseball team practice last summer.
Trump reiterated that “if you add conceal carry to this, you’ll never get it passed.”
He later added that “Amy and Dianne” would not go for that – referring to Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Dianne Feinstein of California. Feinstein, sitting beside the President, nodded in agreement.
Trump on Wednesday signaled his support for a hodgepodge of other policies – from strengthening background checks to raising the minimum age to buy certain guns and taking guns away from the mentally ill – during the meeting with lawmakers.
But after the hour-long televised session ended, it was still unclear what specific legislation Trump would support. And the wide-ranging meeting, which included blunt back-and-forths between Trump and members of both parties, laid bare the vast divide on gun legislation and Trump’s own unfamiliarity with the searing, years-old gun debate.
CNN’s Jeremy Diamond and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.