Trump Goes To The NRA And Delivers Nuthin’.
I just listened to the speech. If you don’t know what speech I’m talking about, then you haven’t been following the latest doings in gun violence prevention, a.k.a. GVP. It’s the speech that Trump gave today at the NRA annual meeting, the first President to address the Gun-nut Nation faithful since Saint Ronald showed up in 1983.
As speeches go, it was a fairly hum-drum affair. I hate to say this, but when Trump exhorted his campaign audiences to ‘throw them the hell out,’ or ‘beat them up,’ or ‘put Hillary in jail,’ at least there was a certain amount of excitement and hoopla in the air. And he did on rare occasion show his old form, referring to Liz Warren as ‘Pocahontas’ and leading the audience in a brief ‘build the wall’ cheer. But I predicted last week that Trump would show up and just rattle on about how tough he was on crime, which is exactly what he did.
Trump spent the first 6 minutes cracking jokes about how nobody thought he could win; someone might tell his speechwriters that the election was six months ago and the line about how ‘everyone said I couldn’t get to 270 and they were right because I ended up at 306’ is getting a little stale. He then intoned that the ‘eight-year assault on the 2nd Amendment’ had come to an end, but then he veered back to a disjointed praising of the new Supreme Court justice and from the 12th minute to the 17th minute he told the audience everything else he was doing to protect us from illegal immigrants and crime.
At this point in the speech the audience was getting restive because the applause was beginning to fade, so for the next three minutes Trump babbled on and on about how he was going to build the wall. He then mentioned that a couple of Southern Governors were in the room along with Ted Cruz, and then at minute 23 he stopped short (I thought that maybe he was finally going to say something newsworthy) and said with great solemnity, “I will never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” He didn’t exactly bring the house down with that pledge. After all, this was the NRA. What was he going to say? That he would infringe on their rights?
For the last five minutes Trump wrapped up his speech with some vague references to the American Revolution, Paul Revere, the battle at Concord and a reminder that what makes America great again will be his administration because he will bring back the idea that the ‘people can govern themselves.’ That’s what he calls Twitter?
He mentioned several times that Wayne-o and Chris Cox were doing a great job, he made reference to the NRA’s storied President, Charlton Heston, but he didn’t even pull out Heston’s epic applause line about how nobody would ever take a gun away from his ‘cold, dead hands.’ The kid who wrote Trump’s speech probably wasn’t even born when Heston first shouted those words.
The audience heard the word ‘freedom’ again and again but at no time did they hear anything about the national, concealed-carry bill which is the NRA’s most cherished dream. There was no mention of ending ‘gun-free’ zones, another issue high on the NRA wish-list, which Trump claimed he would abolish on his first day on the job. He didn’t even talk about his son’s pet project to market gun silencers as some kind of medical device. The truth is that Trump came to the NRA meeting, talked for 28 minutes and didn’t say anything at all.
For all his talk about how much Trump ‘loves’ gun owners, his NRA speech didn’t give them squat. And I’m not saying that chickens won’t come home to roost at some point this year. But getting a big tax cut for himself and his friends is a lot more important to Trump than whether the rest of us can go walking around with our guns.