Ivanka Trump and her brother Don Jr. are staking opposite sides in the gun control debate — and the president calls Don Jr. his 'gun expert'

  • President Donald Trump's two eldest children Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. are taking opposite sides on the gun debate. 
  • Members of Congress from both parties are pushing for gun safety measures including expanded background checks after two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that killed 31 people.
  • Ivanka, a White House advisor, has publicly called for stricter background checks and "red flag" laws that empower law enforcement to remove guns from people they deem to be a threat. 
  • But Don Jr., an avid hunter, is reportedly warning his father that expanded background checks and red flags could infringe on the civil liberties of gun owners and would be unpopular, despite polling data to the contrary. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

As President Donald Trump considers whether to support stricter gun control measures in the wake of two recent mass shootings, his two eldest children Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. are taking opposite sides on the gun debate. 

After two deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that killed 31 people and injured dozens more in the course of one weekend, several members of Congress undertook a new push for stricter background checks on firearms purchases.

Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia are now lobbying the president to support a bipartisan amendment that would extend mandatory federal background checks to private firearms sales at gun shows and over the Internet.

Ivanka, who holds an unpaid position as a senior advisor at the White House, posted in social media to encourage Congress to "close background check loopholes."

62 PHOTOS
El Paso shooting: Community, family, friends mourn the victims
See Gallery
El Paso shooting: Community, family, friends mourn the victims
Mariana Cordero cries as she visits a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A man hangs up an "El Paso Strong" sign at a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A woman cries as she visits a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A woman leans over to write a message on a cross at a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People crowd around a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A woman is reflected in a picture as she looks at a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. Saturday's mass shooting at the Walmart left multiple people dead and more than two dozen others injured. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People visit a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
En esta imagen tomada de un video en abril de 2019, migrantes se entregan a agentes fronterizos en El Paso, Texas, después de cruzar hacia territorio estadounidense desde México. (AP Foto/Cedar Attanasio)
Flags fly over crosses at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. The border city jolted by a weekend massacre at a Walmart absorbed more grief Monday as the death toll climbed and prepared for a visit from President Donald Trump over anger from El Paso residents and local Democratic leaders who say he isn't welcome and should stay away. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People visit a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Gloria Garces se arrodilla el martes 6 de agosto de 2019 en un memorial ubicado cerca de la escena de un tiroteo en un centro comercial de El Paso, Texas. (AP Foto/John Locher)
People visit a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People visit a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Catalina Saenz wipes tears from her face as she visits a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. A list of the people who died in the weekend shooting rampage at the Walmart, shows that most of the victims had Latino surnames and included one German national. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A woman leaves flowers at a makeshift memorial at the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Gloria Garces kneels in front of crosses at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Rene Aguilar and Jackie Flores pray at a makeshift memorial for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex in El Paso, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
Catalina Saenz wipes tears from her face as she visits a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People crowd around a makeshift memorial near the site of a mass shooting over the weekend at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People attend a candlelight vigil for victims of a mass shooting at a shopping complex over the weekend, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A man cries beside a cross at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. The border city jolted by a weekend massacre at a Walmart absorbed more grief Monday as the death toll climbed and prepared for a visit from President Donald Trump over anger from El Paso residents and local Democratic leaders who say he isn't welcome and should stay away. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A man cries beside a cross at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. The border city jolted by a weekend massacre at a Walmart absorbed more grief Monday as the death toll climbed and prepared for a visit from President Donald Trump over anger from El Paso residents and local Democratic leaders who say he isn't welcome and should stay away. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People attend a candlelight vigil for victims of a mass shooting over the weekend, at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People attend a candlelight vigil for victims of a mass shooting over the weekend, at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People attend a candlelight vigil for victims of a mass shooting over the weekend at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Angie Attaguile rests her head on her husband, Ray Attaguile's shoulder as they embrace their children during a candlelight vigil for victims of a mass shooting over the weekend at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Personas visitan un altar improvisado el lunes 5 de agosto de 2019, en el lugar de una masacre en un centro comercial de El Paso, Texas. (AP Foto/John Locher)
Members of the Americas High School football team visit the site of a mass shooting over the weekend, at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. The team visited to hang a banner that reads "El Paso Strong." (AP Photo/John Locher)
Members of the Americas High School football team from El Paso huddle around, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, as they visit the site of a mass shooting over the weekend at a shopping complex, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Christina Pipkin cries as she visits a makeshift memorial, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, at the site of a mass shooting at a shopping complex, in El Paso, Texas. "It's hard to see it, it's heartbreaking," said Pipkin about visiting the memorial. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Members of the Americas High School football team from El Paso carry an "El Paso Strong" sign into place near the site of a mass shooting over the weekend at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Members of the Americas High School football team from El Paso carry an "El Paso Strong" sign into place near the site of a mass shooting over the weekend at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Mayte Santiesteban visits a cross dedicated to her best friend's aunt, who was killed in the weekend shooting, at a makeshift memorial at the site of the mass shooting at a shopping complex, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Daphne Rosas, a former sixth grade student of teacher Elsa Mendoza de la Mora, one of the victims of the shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, shows her class photo with Mendoza in the center, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019. Mexico’s government said it considers the shooting that left eight of its citizens dead an “act of terrorism” against Mexicans and hopes it will lead to changes in U.S. gun laws. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)
Personas oran frente a un altar improvisado en honor a las víctimas de una masacre en un centro comercial de El Paso, Texas, el lunes 5 de agosto de 2019. (AP Foto/John Locher)
Greg Zanis prepares crosses to place at a makeshift memorial for victims of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Maylin Reyes, right, and Isela Reyes prepare to hang a Mexican flag at a makeshift memorial near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Rene Aguilar y Jackie Flores rezan en un memorial para las víctimas de un tiroteo en El Paso, Texas, el domingo 4 de agosto de 2019. (AP Foto/Andres Leighton)
Greg Zanis prepares crosses to place at a makeshift memorial for victims of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People comfort each other during a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Cathe Hill wipes tears from her eyes during a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. "There's no such thing as a stranger here in El Paso," said Hill about the impact the shooting had on the community. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Children of a youth sports community participate in a vigil for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
Unas flores y una imagen de la Virgen de Guadalupe adornan un monumento conmemorativo improvisado en honor de las víctimas de un tiroteo en un centro comercial en El Paso, Texas, el domingo 4 de agosto de 2019. El letrero dice: "El Paso es una familia. Permanecemos unidos". (AP Foto/Andrés Leighton)
A man leaves flowers near the scene of a mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Someone left a couple of signs outside Del Sol Medical Center after a mass shooting occurred at Walmart early Saturday in El Paso, TX on Sunday, August 4, 2019. (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Carmen Roldan brings some flowers to honor the memory of the victims of the mass shooting occurred in Walmart on Saturday morning in El Paso on Sunday, August 4, 2019. (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Jessica Luna hugs her son Julien Lucero, 6, while both of them cry during a vigil at Ponder Park in honor to the victims of a mass shooting occurred in Walmart on Saturday morning in El Paso on Sunday, August 4, 2019. (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Family members hug to each other outside the family reunification center at MacArthur Elementary-Intermediate School in El Paso, Texas on Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Amanda Beltran holds her cell phone flashlights up as she wipes her tears away during a vigil Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, at Ponder Park in honor of the victims of the mass shooting that occurred in Walmart on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
People march in silence holding sunflowers and sings in honor to the victims of a mass shooting occurred in Walmart on Satuday morning in El Paso on Sunday, August 4, 2019. (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
CORRECTS NUMBER OF PEOPLE KILLED TO MORE THAN 20 - Muralist Manuel Oliver, whose son was killed in the Parkland Florida shooting, at center in red, is flanked by his wife and daughter, left, in black, and Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke, right in blue, during an unveiling ceremony for Oliver's mural, in El Paso, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. The mural, which advocates for humane treatment of immigrants, became a memorial after more than 20 people were killed on Saturday in an attack that officials are investigating as a hate crime. O'Rourke is holding a sunflower as a symbolic gesture to Oliver's son, who is said to have carried sunflowers the day he died. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke walks next to his wife Amy Hoover Sanders and Rep. Veronica Escobar Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, during a silent march holding sunflowers in honor to the victims of a mass shooting occurred in Walmart on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Houston Astros players bow their heads during a moment of silence in remembrance of the the mass shooting victims in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio before a baseball game Sunday, August 4, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Three-year-old Andrew Malagon observes a makeshift memorial for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex in El Paso, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
Employees of Walmart cry as they attend a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting who were killed at the store inside a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A Virgin Mary painting, flags and flowers adorn a makeshift memorial for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex in El Paso, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
Clockwise from left, Gabriela Lopez and her husband Roberto Lopez comfort their children Santi Lopez and Max Lopez during a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People raise their arms in the air during a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Lupe Lopez holds a picture of a victim during a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People pray during a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People attend a vigil for victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Members of a youth sports community participate in a vigil for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

She also called on Congress to expand the use of extreme risk protection orders, also known as "red flag laws," which allow law enforcement to temporarily remove guns from people they determine to be a danger to themselves or others. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, one of Trump's key allies of Capitol Hill, is planning to introduce legislation in the Senate to bolster the use of red flag laws.

On Tuesday, Axios reported that Ivanka has made calls to lawmakers, including Manchin, to ask questions and learn more about his bipartisan amendment and other potential gun bills, which Trump has reportedly expressed interest in backing. 

Read more: Gun restrictions are overwhelmingly popular in America's suburbs, which could spell trouble for Republicans

But some of Trump's advisers and his son Don. Jr, an avid hunter, are warning his father that expanded background checks and red flag laws could infringe on the civil liberties of gun owners and would be unpopular among conservatives, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

The Journal reported that Trump called his eldest son "my gun expert" at a recent fundraiser in the Hamptons, saying, "he knows more about guns than anyone I know."

Last week, the Washington Post reported that Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive of the powerful National Rifle Association, further discouraged Trump from supporting expanded background checks, arguing that Trump doing so could cost him crucial support. 

But in a national Morning Consult and Politico poll conducted from August 5-7 after the shootings, 90% of self-identified Republicans, 2016 Trump voters, and those who held a favorable view of Trump all supported mandatory background checks on all gun sales. 

In the same poll, 87% of Republicans and 86% of those who strongly approve of Trump further supported prohibiting firearm sales to people who "have been reported as dangerous to law enforcement." 

While Congress is on August recess, the Journal and other outlets have reported that White House staff are holding meetings with congressional aides to determine which legislation the White House should support, if any. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he does not plan to bring gun legislation to the floor of the Senate that wouldn't have the necessary support to pass, and he said last week that he was "anxious to get an outcome" without specifically getting behind the Manchin-Toomey amendment or any other proposals. 

READ MORE:

The NRA is reportedly warning Trump that supporting universal background checks will hurt him politically

GOP congressman advocates universal background checks after previously voting against a background check bill

Figuring out the psychological profiles of killers isn't going to prevent mass shootings — but gun control could

See Also:

SEE ALSO: A breakdown of gun terminology to help you in discussions on mass shootings and debates over gun control

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.