Trump's Las Vegas Response Draws Praise But Gun Control Debate Looms

President Trump's unifying response on Monday to a massive shooting in Las Vegas may have earned bipartisan accolades, but the president could soon find himself drawn into a political debate about how and whether to tighten regulations on guns.

Trump's prepared remarks about the Las Vegas attack -- which he read Monday morning from a TelePrompTer at the White House -- made no mention of the fierce partisan debate that typically surrounds guns and mass shootings. The moment of silence he conducted on the South Lawn struck a solemn chord around the country. And his press secretary, Sarah Sanders, declined to answer a series of gun control questions on Monday by telling reporters she considered it "premature" to discuss policy while investigators still searched for the shooter's motive.

Meanwhile, Democrats -- including Hillary Clinton, Trump's former election rival -- hinted at the political slog over gun control that likely awaits the president and his fellow Republicans.

"I think that President Trump's response was pitch perfect. I mean, he captured the somber mood and framed it perfectly without getting political," said Ford O'Connell, a Republican strategist. "Now, there's no question about it that the left is gunning for another gun control showdown and debate."

Trump may avoid encountering the gun control debate on Tuesday when he travels to Puerto Rico to survey the damage from Hurricane Maria, O'Connell noted, and he may stave off the showdown on Wednesday by visiting the families of shooting victims in Las Vegas.

"The left is really going to push on this come Wednesday night, Thursday," O'Connell said. "I mean, they're just sort of building up."

Read more from Sarah Westwood at the Washington Examiner

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