Sen. Pat Toomey is defending himself after President Donald Trump accused him of being “afraid” of the National Rifle Association.
During a meeting at the White House Wednesday, the President asked the Pennsylvania Republican if a background check bill he sponsored back in 2013 included a provision that would raise the age for individuals to purchase rifles from 18 to 21. When Toomey said it did not, Trump replied, “You know why? Because you’re afraid of the NRA.”
Toomey told CNN Thursday that it was “funniest moment” during the meeting.
“I’m the Republican that stood up to the NRA, which, when I think they’re wrong, that’s what I do,” Toomey said in an interview with CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux on Capitol Hill.
Toomey and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, had introduced the bill to strengthen background checks for gun purchases in the aftermath of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“The NRA opposed it completely and they downgraded my rating and they wouldn’t endorse me and they didn’t contribute to me, so I’m the guy that stood up to the NRA. It was pretty funny that the President obviously doesn’t know that history,” Toomey told CNN.
Toomey said he’s willing to consider the President’s suggestion to raise the age limit, but added that he’s “skeptical.”
“To say we’re going to just disqualify this whole category of Americans from owning a firearm, I’m not sure it makes us safer and it certainly infringes on their Second Amendment rights, so I’m skeptical about it,” Toomey said.
Toomey also disagreed with the President’s proposal to take firearms away first before going through due process in court, calling it a “non-starter.”
The Pennsylvania Republican said he and Manchin will continue to push their bill if the President fully embraces the measure.