Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin seemed to be making a rare break from Republican orthodoxy by suggesting Congress take action on gun control – until his office said that’s not what he meant.
‘It’s a tragedy what we’ve seen yesterday, and I urge Congress to look at these issues,’ Mnuchin had said Thursday at a House Ways and Means Committee meeting.
At issue was whether there was enough money in the White House budget request to address gun violence, a question posed to Mnuchin by Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin seemingly backed gun control on Thursday, until his spokesman tried to clarify that that’s not what President Trump’s cabinet member meant
‘I’m not aware of that level of detail in the budget for me to be an expert to attest on that,’ Mnuchin said, according to Politico’s account.
Then he made the offending statement.
‘I will say, personally, I think the gun violence – it’s a tragedy what we’ve seen yesterday, and I urge Congress to look at these issues.’
The statement was a departure from how President Trump has reacted to Wednesday’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 students and teachers dead.
The president tweeted Thursday morning about the shooter being ‘mentally disturbed’ and encouraged ‘neighbors and classmates’ to report ‘erratic behavior’ to the authorities.
Then, speaking in the Diplomatic Reception Room, Trump condemned the ‘terrible violence, hatred and evil,’ and also criticized the ‘culture.’
‘We must also work together to create a culture in our country that embraces the dignity of life, that creates deep and meaningful human connections, and that turns classmates and colleagues into friends and neighbors,’ Trump said.
Not once did Trump utter the word ‘guns.’
Mnuchin not only said the word, but he indicated something should be done about the Voldemort of devices.
His office said, however, that that’s not the case.
‘Secretary Mnuchin was directly addressing Congressman Lewis’ question about availability of funds in the budget to address the issue of gun violence,’ said Treasury spokesman Tony Sayegh.
‘He also reflected the feelings shared by all Americans that yesterday’s school shooting was a profound tragedy,’ Sayegh added.