Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown reversed himself Wednesday and joined President Trump in Dayton to meet victims of a mass shooting there and law enforcement officials who ended it.
“I wrestled with the right thing to do when Trump visits Dayton today. I decided I have a responsibility to look him in the eye and urge him to do the right thing,” Brown tweeted a day after telling Sirius XM he would decline a White House invitation because of the president’s racist rhetoric and stance on gun access.
“I will not be there with him. I don’t have any interest because of what he’s done on this, [his] total unwillingness to address the issue of guns, his racist rhetoric,” Brown said Tuesday. “I don’t know what he’s going to say and do there. I mean I welcome him to the state in some sense, but not about this.”
Reporters traveling with the president saw Brown greet Trump on the airport tarmac Wednesday, then board a van that is part of the Dayton motorcade.
Protesters and Trump supporters have lined some streets there. A similar scene is expected later in the day when the president is expected to visit El Paso, where another gunman opened fire at a Walmart Saturday.
Collectively, 31 people were killed in the two cities. The murders have renewed calls for gun control legislation to pass both chambers, but so far a background check proposal has yet to emerge. A “red flag” bill providing grants to states that adopt their own laws could move in the Senate; a House-passed background checks bill remains stalled in the Senate.
Trump said earlier Wednesday he sees a new bipartisan background checks bill forming. But he made clear he won’t call Congress back from its summer break until a final deal is “close.”