Sen. Sherrod Brown to meet with Trump after initially saying he wouldn’t

‘I decided I have a responsibility to look him in the eye and urge him to do the right thing,’ Brown tweeted

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, heads to the Senate floor for votes on a two-year budget and debt ceiling deal on Thursday, August 1, 2019. Brown said he would not meet with President Donald Trump, but reversed himself, joining Trump to meet victims in Dayton. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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.”

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone.