Reminding gun owners what he did for the protection of the Second Amendment and pledging to do much more, former President Donald Trump closed the National Rifle Association’s main event Friday with a stemwinder that brought the crowd to its feet.
In a full-on campaign speech, the Republican presidential frontrunner told those assembled at the NRA-Institute for Legislative Action Leadership Forum that he was running for another term to right the ship listing from “nation-wrecking, globalist marxists, RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) and tyrants.”
“If you put me back in the White House, their reign is over in America and we will be a free nation once again,” Trump told the NRA members attending the organization’s annual meeting in Indianapolis.
His speech followed remarks by his declared and potential Republican presidential nominee rivals, including his vice president, Mike Pence, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (or DeSanctis, as Trump has taken to calling him), his former United Nations Secretary, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and his former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Trump’s competitors mostly stuck to the genteel script: talk about the sanctity of the Second Amendment, the destruction wrought by the Left, and very little about the elephant in the room — the 45th president who very much wants to be the 47th president.
Trump spent a portion of his nearly hour-long speech (the longest of the session) bashing his would-be competitors. Although he did come to Pence’s defense after the former VP was booed at the beginning of his address.
“He’s a nice man, and a good man,” Trump said of the man he has frequently criticized for not taking action against Congress from declaring Biden the winner of the 2020 election. Pence had no constitutional power to do so.
Mainly, Trump trained his venom on the Left, particularly the liberal prosecutors who have made “get Trump!” the mission of their offices.
“The very same raging, radical left lunatic attorney general who is coming after me in New York State is also waging war on the NRA, shamefully trying to destroy this legendary organization,” the former president said.
Trump appeared for his second deposition this week at the Manhattan offices of New York Attorney General Letitia James. The AG, who Trump has described as a racist in reverse, is suing Trump, his three children, and their family on fraud allegations. James, like Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is prosecuting Trump on what many see as a politically driven and dubious felony case, campaigned on going after the former president.
James also has sought to put the NRA out of business, alleging violations of the organization’s non-profit tax status.
Trump said the Democrats behind multiple investigations and an unprecedented indictment against him are targeting their political enemies “like the old Soviet Union.”
“They’re not coming after me, they’re coming after you and I’m just sort of in the way of these people,” Trump said, repeating a familiar line to roaring applause.
He drove home the point that the left, led by a gun-control extremist president, is coming after their guns, too.
Describing himself as the “most pro-gun president effort,” Trump reminded his audience that he appointed three conservative justices that helped protect gun owner rights, including a Supreme Court ruling that struck down a New York gun law that put restrictions on carrying a concealed handgun outside the home. He canceled former President Barack Obama’s “unconstitutional” executive order banning 3D-printed guns and “stood up for hunters” with the opening of more than 2.3 million acres of public land.
“When the radical left Democrats tried to use COVID to shut down gun sales during the China virus pandemic, I proudly designated gun and ammunition retailers as critical infrastructure,” he said, pressing the point. “Do you remember that?”
Trump is hoping the NRA’s 4.3 million members — many of them dedicated voters — remember him come next year’s primary season. He recalled how the “patriots of the NRA” endorsed him early on in his 2016 run.
“With your support in 2024, I will be your loyal friend, and fearless president once again — the 47th president of the United States,” he said.
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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
Photo “Donald Trump” by NRA.