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WASHINGTON — In a phone call with President Trump about gun safety legislation last week, Senator Joe Manchin III made an unusual offer: If Mr. Trump signed onto a background check bill that he and Senator Pat Toomey have been pushing for six years, the president could claim the naming rights for himself.
“This won’t be Manchin-Toomey,” Mr. Manchin recalled telling the president, referring to the measure that would expand background checks for gun buyers. “This is going to be the Common Sense Gun Bill of 2019 by President Trump.”
With Mr. Trump expected to decide as early as next week whether he will defy the National Rifle Association and embrace a bill to expand background checks for gun purchases, Mr. Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, is hardly the only lawmaker appealing to the image-conscious president. In meetings and phone calls with Mr. Trump and his advisers, backers of various gun safety bills have been waging a full-scale Washington courtship rooted in policy, politics and a little bit of presidential ego. […]
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