The White House stepped back from its open support for the U.N. arms treaty, deciding not to attend a public signing ceremony for the document in New York on Monday morning after all.
The United Nations was hosting a 10:30 a.m. ceremony with representatives from the United Kingdom, France, Mexico, the Democratic Republic of Congo and roughly 60 other nations to sign the international weapons treaty. But the U.S. decided not to show, according to Bloomberg.
“I suspect they probably took a decision that, politically, it made sense not to completely alienate people in Congress on something that, in their opinion, doesn’t matter when they sign it as long as they sign it,” said Adotei Akwei, Amnesty International USA’s managing director for government relations.
The treaty, decried by the National Rifle Association’s 4.5 million members as an infringement to the Second Amendment, isn’t likely to pass the Senate. President Obama was the first president to support it, but isn’t rushing to sign it, given its controversy and his need to generate enough political capital for its ratification in the Senate.
“We are conducting a thorough review of the treaty text to determine whether to sign the treaty,” said Laura Lucas, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council.
Mr. Akwei said the tone for the treaty among politicos on Capitol Hill was “absolutely toxic” and that U.S. ratification is a “long-term strategy” that can take up to 15 years, Bloomberg reported.