White House Walks Back Trump’s Apparent Support for Universal Background Checks: ‘He’ll Continue to Support the Second Amendment’

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as Rep. Brian Mast, Sen. Christopher Murphy, Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein listen during a meeting with bipartisan members of Congress
President Donald Trump speaks as lawmakers listen during meeting / Getty

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday walked back President Donald Trump's comments from earlier in the week apparently supporting universal background checks for gun purchases.

Trump indicated that he would endorse universal background checks for gun purchases during a bipartisan gun safety meeting with lawmakers on Wednesday, but Sanders said two days later that he supports "not necessarily universal background checks, but certainly improving the background check system."

"He wants to see what that legislation, the final piece of it looks like," Sanders told reporters at the White House, according to the Hill. "Universal means something different to a lot of people. He certainly wants to focus and improve on the background check system."

Trump shocked Democrats and Republicans alike by vocally supporting gun-control proposals at Wednesday's meeting at the White House, especially when he appeared to agree with Sen. Chris Murphy's (D., Conn.) statement that "Americans want universal background checks."

"You have a different president now," Trump told Murphy. "You went through a lot of presidents and you didn't get it done. You have a different president. And I think, maybe, you have a different attitude, too. I think people want to get it done."

During the meeting, Trump also vocally supported the policy of confiscating guns from certain individuals who are deemed dangerous, even if such action violates due process rights.

"I like taking the guns early, like in this crazy man's case that just took place in Florida … to go to court would have taken a long time," Trump said. "Take the guns first, go through due process second."

Sanders' comments to reporters came one night after Trump met with a top executive at the National Rifle Association, the group that he urged lawmakers to defy on certain gun policy issues during Wednesday's meeting. Trump then tweeted on Thursday morning that Americans should "respect [the] 2nd Amendment."

Sanders said that Trump promised the NRA that "he'll continue to support the Second Amendment."