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Tracking Minnesota’s political scene and keeping you up-to-date on those elected to serve you

Trump appears to accept invitation to visit Minnesota mine

President Donald Trump appears to have accepted an invitation by U.S. Steel CEO Mario Longhi to visit the company's mining operations in Minnesota, according to a video webcast of a meeting between Trump and several manufacturing executives.

As Longhi introduced himself and the company he represented, Trump quickly took credit for work he said his recent executive orders would bring U.S. Steel.

"You're going to be doing pipelines now, you know that," Trump said to Longhi. "We put you heavy into the pipeline business because we approved, as you know, the Keystone pipeline and Dakota, but they have to buy -- meaning steel, so I'll say US steel -- but steel made in this country and pipelines made in this country."

Longhi interjected at first, saying the company is already in the pipeline business. He dovetailed on an offer by Doug Oberhelman, former CEO and now executive chairman of Caterpillar, to drive one of the company's bulldozers. (To which Trump said, "I've been driving them a long time.")

Longhi told Trump that while he is driving one of the Caterpillar bulldozers, he should also "come up to Minnesota and our mines."

Trump accepted, though it's unclear if he was merely being polite. "Good. I'll do it. I'll be out there."

A White House spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment to confirm whether Trump would indeed travel to Minnesota's Iron Range.

Based in Pittsburgh, U.S. Steel has two mines in Minnesota. Minntac in Mountain Iron and Keetac in Keewatin.

Gun control advocates try to keep pressure on, despite legislative losses

Gov. Mark Dayton lent his support to gun control advocates by declaring June 2 Gun Violence Awareness Day in Minnesota. 

A group of lawmakers, activists and law enforcement who pledged to reduce gun violence with measures like universal background checks held a news conference at the Capitol Thursday, even in the face of losses in the November election that left them without an obvious source of influence.

"Just over four years ago, I found myself on a path I did not choose, fighting a battle I did not start, advocating to change dangerous gun laws I never knew existed," said Lucy McBath, faith and outreach coordinator for Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action. McBath’s son, Jordan Davis, was shot and killed in an argument over loud music at a gas station in Jacksonville in 2012. 

McBath was joined by Sen. Jeff Hayden, whose sister was killed by a stray bullet last year. She would have turned 26 Thursday. DFL lawmakers and some members of law enforcement were also there. 

Everytown for Gun Safety/Moms Demand Action, which says it wants to reduce gun violence while respecting the Second Amendment, invested significant resources in the November election with limited success. Republicans took the Senate and strengthened their hold on the House, which means the Legislature is more likely to loosen, rather than tighten, gun laws.