Trump's gun background checks position changes after NRA call

After talking to NRA President Wayne LaPierre, the president seemed to soften his stance on fighting for stronger gun control measures, saying "we already have very serious background checks."
26:25 | 08/21/19

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Transcript for Trump's gun background checks position changes after NRA call
Every welcome to the briefing room on Devin Dwyer Washington great to have you with us on this Wednesday public health emergency. That's a president trump says we're facing right now at the epidemic of gun violence in America but the big question is. What is the president going to do about it what will Republicans in congress do about it. Will anything change after El Paso and Dayton just two and a half weeks ago before leaving for Kentucky. A short time ago the president of the United States. Talked about his call with the NRA overnight also seeming to back away from his promise. Just a few days ago to meet background checks in this country. The strongest we've ever seen. Do and they die for a lot of other reasons. But that they do. Bad as I've said I think I've said it very loudly and plainly and I don't think I've changed positions at all. What united background check. Things we can do we already have very serious background check we have strong background check. Jordan Phelps joins us now from the White House or White House reporter Jordan. He also invoked an NRA talking point this afternoon the president talk anybody slippery slope. With some of these gun control measures what is the White House actually pushing right now we have any clear sense for what they want to see done. DeVon White House officials say they are working on things behind the scenes but. No one had he not and it seems that. Capitol Hill debate in the dark still out there we know that leadership is very much in a wait and see Malick waiting to see what kind of leadership the president looks forward. On the issue of savage. And right now they just don't half that from the White House south. We'll have to see what they thought forward but Capitol Hill. You know it looks like this isn't going anywhere any time soon see how the president get behind something. Car repair Jordan thank you a lot of advocates for stricter gun control measures trying to keep the pressure on his congress. Is still two weeks from coming back to Washington the president seeming to take a step back from that sense of urgency one of those people is mayor Greg Fisher of Louisville, Kentucky where the president. Is visiting today he joins us now live mayor Fisher thanks so much for coming and you would reach out to the White House. To try to talk to the president personally about gun violence in the need to take action they couldn't get something scheduled. But what was the message you were hoping to deliver to him today. But gun safety reform his main history it is not radical what's radicals nothing's being done in Washington. He gets Constance and reform in our country right now as we don't overwhelming. Amount Americans. Once measures be taken here so. Grow old and there is an American 260 more minutes Republicans Democrats independents. There are similar to the US senate asking them to act on these house bills and we know the house bills alone will take here it is shoot. But we've got to show the American people that we hear. DC is behind the American people in terms of where we want to go on gun safety slows to encourage. I'm the president to give the green light Syria US senator Mitch McConnell the US senate Republicans to say let's get this boat go wrong. It do you agree with the president today mayor Fisher that this is a public health emergency what are conditions like in Louisville right now in terms of gun violence. It's a public or mercy all over the country and it has been quite some time. We focus on the mass shootings. In the headline but when you think erupted daily drumbeat and deaths. Caused by guns in terms of suicides in terms the debt we see in the cities of America. It mentioned it as many people were dying in a shopping all day. The whole country would be gone crazy saying we've got to do something here so. It's on October a leader to step up could be a state senator State's woman to say. This is not a partisan issue we've got to make this a human issue we don't make this American issue and something needs to be done. So I don't the president does that the US and doesn't and I hope this is just the beginning of the track the changes at least since he's country. Yeah a lot of push for leadership right now there's an absence of an in this town mayor Greg Fischer will vote Kentucky's great city there thank you so much sir for coming on. Well as the mayor just said gun violence is much more the mass shootings an epidemic in many cities across the country including right here in Washington DC that whole. His dad just this horrific as what we saw but in El Paso in Dayton are Serena Marshall caught up with her if. High school football coach here in the nation's capital who told us that his 2001 football team. Only has five players remain five players living. All of the others killed by gun violence a stunning figure. And he told Serena Marshall that he worries about his 2019 team and what's in store for them. Football and funerals two words that shouldn't be synonymous bad for coach Steve Sanders are. When the pillows so many. Young people this. Even killed for no reason assessments now. For more than thirty years he's volunteered his time coaching drilling and mentoring. Young boys in southeast DC. A friend live. Well. Yeah bin. An area plagued by violence and guns. Right what is. Born old. You know why. He's. Squarely and continue Dole's current. For many of those years funerals have become an all too familiar part of the game. Eighteen years ago his team to woodland tigers had nineteen players. Only nine made it to adulthood. One of them at a mad men remembers that was years. It hurt. So bay it does seem like those for as benching grow way and it light what these so young and it was the. Coach Steve fearful his current team faces the same future this is in coach gunned down in a drive by the motive unclear. And cutting just days after tigers defensive end Ron Brown shot over a dispute from selling cookies and water. He was only a lot. You know I know seeing the books you've blown a hole in the car. For the parents it's the field that provides cover from that violence might feel an. Ideal light. The coach like so many Americans want in the politicians. Located just across the bridge to make changes am angry and frustrated. I borrow. From where apparently. It's gotten data beamed out. Until they do he hopes this teen and helped guide the mountains. The strength to keep doing you're actually here Linda Moore home. Thank god. At saving me to do. A sentiment echoed even eighteen years later. But that same way they show me so much they may Nikkei about life so much they can a show me away. This success who. It's the you find a way out. Coach Sanders said one way he believes the gun problem can be solved is by investing in the community is programs like kids when fully funded isn't just providing coaching. And also offers tutoring and. Feel traps DeVon. America excuse or in a Marshall for that so many high school students and young graduates also stepping up on this front to keep the pressure going and joined by two of them now both. Members of the march for a lies movement both 2019. High school graduates college bound great to see you guys think so much. Rita Smith tear Roberts into our Wisconsin native and eight Florida native great to see you both so you guys are part of this organization so many of us have heard about since the massacre Parkland high school. Over year ago. Into. What strikes me about it is it is so bold so ambitious it's a pretty big deal almost I wouldn't like liken it to the green new deal on climate this is sorted and that steel on guns tell us about. Now we'll and with our peace plan where not only trying to push the needle. But change the narrative and the way that we talk about gun violence prevention. As is always mentioned you know we always talk about mass shootings that's that's what's always on our minds at the forefront of our minds but. Really that's not the majority of the gun violence is happening in America. Every day shootings and suicides at the majority. And so without a peace plan and what we've tried to do. Is really bring an end or sectional approach to this conversation. And set audacious goals that politicians are going to have to step up and and take the initiative to work on if they want to be taken serious. So what's audacious when it comes to gun control was I mean when we haven't here. So we have universal background checks it is putting our our politicians accountable Fred getting money from carrying such as. Coming in set and is in the peace plan and having intersection he took my nation's Collison it is something that we can't do isn't pleasing odor of gulf and someone else. And with intersections I think it's important and we have the peace plan because now he's talks Alec. A mass shootings are suicides but also inner cities and how before we saw that the clip. Of these intercede people going through every day shootings but not having a platform to speak about it. In the that we pea Stanley like fun he's inner cities and funds organizations to give them to go about you. You're really hoping that this is a blueprint for about lot of the political candidates may heirs to seize upon different pieces out that we're also to mobilize. People your age will vote for the first time in a presidential election Tory Tory. Says one of them. The policy going to have automatic registry for voting when you turn eighteen because he's in America we don't tell young people you have the vote to let you have the right to vote you have the -- to contribute to our society in both for our business our representatives who actually let you alert but let's herbs and is there didn't you. And I think it's interesting says we want to. Have these young people and civic education and be a part of a boating understand our power to make a difference for electing people who actually represent. It's what keeps you going in image are so many reasons to be discouraged. Heard from somewhat gun advocates today congressional advocates when they heard the president. Take a big step back seemingly on background checks. Seems a person familiar pattern and many are so many times before but what sustains you guys were gives you guys energy burned only once affiliated which. The gun lobby profits off. Other people's an action and feeling like they can't mobilize for something that will save lives. And so what keeps me going every day is just knowing that I am. Truly taking down the evil in the society and the people who are not listening to the hundreds of thousands of people each year who are being shot and killed and having no justice. And one of the things we outlined in this plan is that if all of our policies are implemented we expect that over a ten year period the gun deaths will decreased by 50%. Let's be really big deal and we know you're going to be out there pushing the hallway T Roberts Stanford bound great to see you thanks for human embryo Smith Emerson. College bound thank you so much you both for coming in great to see you have you here in the briefing room and I won't turn now to another story we broke here on ABC news yesterday the trump administration's new policy. When it comes to housing in detaining young children migrants. The policy that's been governing that practice here in the United States has been something known as the floor is agreements its 1997. Capping. The number of days the children can be detained at twenty. But a short time ago. The White House announcing they're taking steps up to roll that back in our insularity is here she's or senior. A reporter on this story he's been our breaking this ground and a very controversial step. That this administration has been looking at for some time tell us what it actually means what are they doing. By is looking to call round the floor as agreement. This is something DeVon trump has been looking out for very long time there is this court settlement it's named after a girl named Jenny Flores who came across the border. And was detained by US authorities. And his lawyers had filed suit on her behalf saying that she was mistreated the court. Agreed to work with the federal government to set standards won its sanitary and safe conditions. And you can't detain the children for longer than twenty days into when he fifteen Obama went to a judge and try to disable. Can we have them detained if they're with their families and the judge said now. Trump wants a way around us he has proposed lifting that cap and he thinks he has found a way to do it within the law. So why does the trump administration and want to detain. Children for longer than twenty days you you would think that. These migrants wouldn't be particularly Persian. Or threats. In terms this is safety and security perhaps they're on wanted perhaps they're here illegitimate. And legitimately but. Right now they're being after twenty it is housed in HHS facilities given to Foster parents temporarily as it. Proceeds go on well and know the reasons those kids that are writing. Alone or with that when they're with extended relatives who are not a legal guardian or not apparently it's an aunt and uncle grandparent those are considered unaccompanied minors and they go into a separate system. But we're talking about here people who are writing with their families. And it would trump has said is that we have the system that encourages people who want to come to United States to bring children with them because they know that if they travel alone there will be put into ice detention facility. Until their case can be process. This is very different if you travel with a child. The flares agreement says that you can't detain them for longer than twenty days so conservatives have always seen us as a and encouraging. Unfairly people to comment to bring their children but found. And getting a lot of low back today from civil liberties organizations the ACLU has called this quote a cruel attack on children. I'll always shoots it that the administration is trying to counter this narrative by putting out some video I think we have it from inside what he's detention facilities. Other trying to paint a picture that they'll be a much more luxurious shall we say. Headed and as an actress and accuracy here's some of this is handout video they won't let. Independent media inside these facilities but here you get a glimpse of what they say air conditions of these is that touches of stepdaughter who look that bad from this point. Rate these or do not bad jail like facilities but it is detention and health experts have said that attention adversely impacts children's health and they do not advised that. Months ago had a term the administration. Making some big news looking to extend down the detention of children and their families. For more than two then Tony days and clarity. Thank you so much we are joined now shortly I believe by the president of the Migration Policy Institute Andrew Sally. Who is someone who has been covering the senses this policy change in the trump administration. For quite some time and your cell Li is just as Jordan and that's right now I believe sitting down here in the ABC. Bureau while we wait for him be a plug and let's take a listen to the president's announcement on this as well. 01. Brought the family that bought on the line they've got the family together with what would Bailey. We'll do even more bad but it'll make it almost impossible. For people becoming bloc country illegally blood. We're building blocks second of the wal one. We've begun the Supreme Court building block at the wall and lots of other. And enters Sally joins me now Andy thanks so much prefer common name we just heard the president. Say that this new policy is actually Kenny keep families together keep children with their parents. Even though will be longer perhaps than twenty days what's your reaction to the new policy shift here. I mean it you know there there are trying to fix a problem by fixing half of it and and that doesn't actually worked very well. So you what they've done is they have and tried to integrated system putting keep families including children. I'm when their parents in detention for a long period of time there are actually bids to do that so it's unclear how does it work in practice. But more importantly they haven't fixed the asylum system in the asylum system right now is taking. Two to three years for people to go through it so it's unclear. How long their claim to hold people what the thinking is behind this. Singers and initially you your Seneca potentially by changing this rule lifting this cap. Potentially be playing to hold families and children in detention. For up to two years. You know it's unclear I mean it really is unclear what their plan to of this that seems unworkable it seems untenable. And I'm certainly create something of a backlash so it's it's unclear if they have. Another way if they're gonna try and fix the asylum system at some point but they haven't rolled that out as part of this initiative so it's it's unclear. And you've studied this and this policy for so many years your organization migration policy institute's been out front. On this. Or what impact is this gonna happen do you think it ought about our changing these rules that for trump administration will have the deterrent effect that they. They claim here. I don't think so because they'll sort of the bed space to do it I mean that the right now they just don't have enough detention beds. Com enough for you in facilities that can hold families. This is not to say that that floor race though the ruler trying to change isn't a problem I mean it there are good reasons why you might want to think. About holding families longer for you have to have an in game here you have to know. How they're going to move through the legal system and expedited way so this doesn't turn into some form of indefinite war or long term. Detention arm and I I don't see the other elements of this out there yet perhaps they they're working on them but we haven't seen. Right we know you be keeping an eye and it Anderson and president of the Migration Policy Institute thanks so much for come and answer. But immigration. Immigration wasn't the only flash point at the White House today the president also doubling down on that divisive new political attack. Against Jewish Democrats tickle us. In my opinion. You vote for a Democrat you're being very disloyal. Do Jewish people and you're being very loyal to Israel. A four out of five American Jews voted Democrat and last year's mid term elections. They generally vote Democrat that is the anti defamation league and other Jewish groups have blasted the president's comments as anti Semitic he pushed back against that today. But for more have a perspective on them for a president's politicization. Of Jewish voters in this country were joined by David Harris is the CEO of the American Jewish. A committee it's one of the largest and oldest Jewish advocacy groups in this country David thank you so much. For joining us from New York we should also say it's a nonpartisan. Our organization which has been party your message. Hitting you've let the group since since 1990 if I'm correct to awarded Jamaica of these comments from the president when you heard them. DeVon they were extremely extremely troubling. By talking about issues of loyalty and disloyalty the president whether he knows that are not. Is evoking very toxic themes and reopening a very dark history where Jews were often accused of being disloyal to the country where they lived. We Jews who live in the United States are blessed were American citizens and our loyalty is to this country the president should know that. What do you think he's trying to do here David do you have a sense of of why. This push is being made really to divide try to divide American Jews. Well it's it's hard to get into the president's mind of course. But this is can be a very close election. And it's going to be very heated election. And I suspect we're going to be seeing a lot more of these kinds of of of appeals both the respect to Jews and an older communities. The president believes it is got a great record on Israel and in many respects many believe he does have a great -- and Israel. He's trying to pick the Democratic Party as the faces of congresswomen Rasheed it to leave venue on Omar's. When in fact the Democratic Party is much bigger than the two of them. But he sees an opening here and he's he's trying to drive a truck through that opening. My guess is looking at states like Florida Ohio Pennsylvania where this can be. A lot of focus in the next election. We're real. Well comments like the president made. David. Today suggesting that his past support of Democrats support of people like her she had to leave me on Omar who. Have faced their own criticism for anti Semitic. Language and statements. Does that it does that drop votes to him let me do do do agenda and I ask you speak from Jewish voters I suppose but I mean. I find it hard to put my mind around how anyone who has been supporting Democrats. For years. Would would simply hearing the president. Suddenly change their mind. Well according to our American Jewish Committee polls over many many years DeVon. Roughly 75%. Of American Jews and a typical presidential election will vote democratic. The number has dipped its prison depending on the election and roughly 25% will vote Republican. I don't see the president's comments now is driving many people in. Away from their existing cap. Obviously we need to know who the Democratic Party can a candidate is that may or may not affect voting behavior. But all things being equal my guess is this will reinforce the president's base. But it will not change the minds of many on the other side who by the way may have their own qualms about the Democratic Party but not enough to jump ship quite yet. Have you had any key communication at all with the White House David Harrison area are you looking to reach out to them on and some of the things you've heard coming from the present. Then as you said at the outset swear word nonpartisan organizations Sorin goal here is not. To politicize the issue were to weaponized as in the context of the election quite the contrary. So what we have tried to explain to the White House why this is a toxic message why this is the wrong way to go the president wants to runners as record. In US Israel relations all power to me has every right to do so but to try and divide American Jews. Question their loyalty suggest that those who don't fall for him or somehow ignorant or disloyal. I think is is is making an even. A country that's already deeply divided and polarized even more so. It's during a presidential we hope the president will stop. David Harris the CEO of the American Jewish Committee some of the former Israeli President Shimon Peres called the foreign minister of the Jewish people highly respected appreciate you coming on and thank you very much for your time sir thank you driven. We'll finally today it's and then nearly a year since the death. Senator John McCain a lion of the senate an advocate for bipartisan incivility in our politics and today. Ahead of the one year anniversary on Sunday his family in wife Cindy McCain are launching a new initiative to promote. More acts of civility in our politics our chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl traveled to Arizona and that was singing became. Who told us about the legacy of her husband and what he would have to say. About some of the political rhetoric going on today. What what would. Send me be talking to me about right now what would be drives me in the room. Lots of things to mean and mean did he certainly shootings have been going on. Certainly the instability that's happening I think the V treatment you know John was always have died fighting for the little guy. And I think John would be. Very discouraged about the border situation right now we went out there are immigrants there are wrecked what refugees coming across the board. And air treatment. I know he in fact I know we need to area sent by that. And and I think generally and of course he would also be the voice of reason objects which is what we're sorely lacking you know as his voice of reason. I mean there's two ways you can go can swing back and move move move toward civility like you're talking about a word can be yet. A reaction in the opposite surrender ended. Yeah unity. It's kind of more instability. And back hitting back and count our country has says try X this I hope not because I I have to believe that some of these shootings. Although aside from the gun laws and I and that's halftime and I want to get into back. And that these shootings are our our response. To this instability and our response. Two things that are occurring around them and sell all of this has to be taken into consideration in our country. They are countries is not well right now one night. You know we need we need to get our act together number one and step back and take a breath. You know this country's name happens in grants were made up of people of every color every creed and that's what makes us national. Anderson house side at black and lighter brown a wider whatever may be is just wrong. It's not who we are. And Cindy Cindy McCain the wife of the late Senator John McCain speaking with our John I think Carl much more from that interview coming up on Sunday. This Week with George Stephanopoulos be sure to tune into that plus Cindy McCain talks about why she thinks is no one in the Republican Party right now. Carrying the torch of her husband's legacy in the Senate's agree interview. I would think you very much for joining us here on ABC news live in the briefing room today we're here every day 3:30 eastern time you can follow the latest on all the stories we've talked about today. I'm the ABC news app download it you can watch our live coverage there as well very easily. I'm DeVon require Washington to see back here tomorrow.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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