Rep. Tim Ryan: ‘Absolute Freaking Joke’ for Trump to Tie Background Checks to Immigration Reform

By Susan Jones | August 5, 2019 | 10:08am EDT
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) speaks during the first night of the Democratic presidential debate on June 26, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

( – In a Monday morning tweet, President Trump suggested that “Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform.”

No way, fumed Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), one of the many Democrats now running for president.

The very idea of finding middle ground on gun control and pairing that with middle ground on immigration reform infuriated him:

"That's a joke. That's an absolute freaking joke that he's going to tie this to the most polarized issue happening in the United States around immigration reform," Ryan told CNN's "New Day" on Monday.

This is very clear-cut here. There are people that are getting access to guns that shouldn't be, and the guns are high-powered. The magazines hold too many bullets, and they’re coming to places like Dayton and El Paso, Walmarts, entertainment districts, churches like Mother Emanuel AME in South Carolina and they're killing American citizens.

Mitch McConnell needs to get off his ass and do something. People are getting killed in the streets in America and nobody's acting. Nobody. There’s a bottleneck in the United States Senate. The House sent a comprehensive background check bill, that's supported by 80 to 90 percent of the American people.

What the hell are we doing in the United States of America? I'm telling you, people are fed up. We were here in Dayton last night, there were tears and there was rage. And people in Washington, D.C., and the state capitals need to get their act together and pass some legislation that 80- to 90-percent of the American people support.

For the president of the United States, in the midst of this tragedy both in the southernmost part of this country and in the northern part of this country, in the last 24 hours, lose 29 people and he's going to tie this to immigration reform? That's a joke.

Ryan said it’s the president’s responsibility to “bring the country together” and to “make the government work again.”

He repeated the oft-used criticism that Reublicans “are in the pocket of the NRA,” and “completely out of step.”

Ryan also said he believes President Trump will try to “slow walk” the gun control issue.

“I think he's going to try to slow walk it. Quick, I want every American to think about what's happened in America in the last 24 hours, 36 hours, and the president ties the issue that would help fix that to immigration reform? That's a joke.”

The National Rifle Association says it opposes expanding firearm background check systems, because background checks don’t stop criminals from getting firearms, because some proposals to do so would deprive individuals of due process of law, and because NRA opposes firearm registration.

The NRA notes that background checks don’t stop criminals from stealing firearms, getting them on the black market, or getting them from straw purchasers.

Currently, the law requires federally licensed firearms dealers to do background checks on customers through the National Instant Background Check System, but there is no way for private gun sellers to access NICS so they could do the same thing.


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