While the attack in Las Vegas this weekend has been called the worst mass shooting in modern history, allies of President Donald Trump told Axios they don’t think the President will pivot left on the gun control debate like he did on the debt ceiling.
Axios spoke with more than 20 sources inside and outside the White House since the shooting, including former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who said the reaction from Trump’s base would be “actually worse” if he made a deal with Democrats on gun control than if he had supported comprehensive immigration reform.
“Impossible: will be the end of everything,” Bannon told Axios in a text message.
Longtime former Trump adviser Roger Stone made similar comments.
“Base would go insane and he knows it,” he said.
Other allies told Axios that the support of the National Rifle Association (NRA) is too important to the President for him to take any significant stance on gun control.
One source said Trump doesn’t feel like he has to be loyal to traditional outside Republican groups because they “didn’t lift a finger to help him in the election,” but the NRA is “very much the exception.”
Trump and his sons are also personally close with the NRA, some sources told Axios and Trump is reportedly friends with the NRA’s top lobbyist.
Early Monday morning Trump tweeted his “warmest condolences and sympathies” to the 59 people who were killed and 500-plus injured by the mass attack. The White House said Monday afternoon it was “premature” to talk about gun control.
“There will be certainly time for that policy discussion to take place, but that’s not the place that we’re in at this moment,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday. “But certainly, I think that there’s a time for that to happen.”