(ABC News) — President Donald Trump shocked some of his biggest critics on the late-night scene Wednesday after he called for comprehensive gun control legislation in a series of proposals the National Rifle Association characterized as “great TV” but “bad policy.”
In a bipartisan round-table discussion with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the president said he wanted to expand background checks for firearm purchases and he expressed support for an early-intervention system that would allow law enforcement to seize guns from mentally ill people without first going to court.
“I like taking the guns early,” Trump said. “Take the guns first, go through due process second.
“You’re afraid of the NRA. Some of you people are petrified of the NRA. They have great power over you people. They have less power over me.”Related Content: Blumenthal introduces ‘Red Flag Measure’ following Florida school shooting
The president’s comments drew attention from some of his harshest critics, including Stephen Colbert, host of “The Late Show,” who said he had “no explanation for what happened this afternoon.”
“Well, he’s finally doing something Obama never did — he’s coming for your guns, and that’s groundbreaking,” Colbert said during his monologue. “I’ve got to give credit to Donald Trump. I never thought he’d go there, but not only did he go there, he went way past there to a place no one had a ticket for.
“Well, I know I’m going to be staring at a hole in the ceiling tonight, because I have no explanation for what happened this afternoon.”
Trump on the NRA: “They have less power over me. What do I need?”
– The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) March 1, 2018
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“The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah said he was also stunned by the president’s willingness to split with his own party.
“Wow. There are moments when Trump reminds me of a drunk uncle calling everyone out at a wedding. Like, mostly you wish he wasn’t there, but some sh-t he says is true,” Noah said. “I mean, he just publicly busted Republicans for being afraid of the NRA.”
Tonight at 11/10c, Trump handles a meeting with lawmakers about guns like a drunk uncle at a wedding. pic.twitter.com/7aXkAELKkI
– The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) March 1, 2018
The NRA roundly criticized Trump’s about-face.
“While today’s meeting made for great TV, the gun-control proposals discussed would make for bad policy that would not keep our children safe,” the NRA said in a statement. “Instead of punishing law-abiding gun owners for the acts of a deranged lunatic our leaders should pass meaningful reforms that would actually prevent future tragedies.”