REPORT: Toomey Refused To Stand Next To Schumer At Presser

Via Roll Call: Four senators may have signed on to a gun background check deal Wednesday, but only two showed up for the news conference — in part because Pennsylvania GOP Sen.Patrick J. Toomey’s public support for the bill hinged on not having to stand next to Democratic Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York.

The background check bill, which would close the gun show loophole and expand checks to online sales, is officially co-sponsored by Schumer; Toomey; Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va.; and Mark S. Kirk, R-Ill. But only Toomey and Manchin appeared before the cameras. Toomey, the former Club for Growth president, had told Manchin he would not speak at the news conference if he had to get on stage with Schumer, according to two sources familiar with the talks. Schumer obliged, and Kirk also agreed not to appear in order to provide cover to Schumer.

“Manchin and Toomey are the best people to sell this agreement to the pro-gun community, and Schumer doesn’t want to get in the way of that. His job is to persuade the gun safety groups that it’s an acceptable deal,” a Democratic aide said of the group’s dynamic.

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