Update, Wednesday: Walmart, apparently, has caved.
Original post: Joe Biden is getting his task force on gun violence off the ground this week and inviting folks to White House for some informational meetings. It's hard to imagine anyone would say no, right? Well, Walmart does unimaginable things all the time, and this is no exception. On Tuesday, a company spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that they declined to meet with the vice president due to a scheduling conflict. What on Earth do they have going on? Presumably the only thing that could be more important than a meeting with the vice president would be a meeting with the president, and we're pretty sure the White House would've spotted that scheduling conflict before inviting Walmart to swing by.
This news is troubling for a couple of reasons. On one hand, folks on all sides of the issue have been eager to participate in what's sure to be a policy-making conversation about gun control. Heck, even the National Rifle Association has agreed to meet with the administration. They'd just look insensitive if they turned their backs on the victims of the Sandy Hook shootings at this point. On the other hand, as the nation's largest gun seller, Walmart has an obvious economic stake in this debate and has said that gun sales are a big part of its strategy going forward. It's also sure to be a target of stricter regulations since its stores played a role in several recent mass shootings, most notoriously when it sold bullets to Jared Loughner before he shot Congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others in 2011. It also ended up in an awkward position when it pulled the Bushmaster AR-15 from its online store after the Sandy Hook shootings.
We'll give the big box retailer the benefit of the doubt for now. Its executives are probably doing very important things instead of meeting with the Vice President Biden about the future of American children. Like bribing government officials in Mexico or denying workers benefits or something.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.