Speaking to an energized crowd of several thousand National Rifle Association members Friday in Atlanta, President Donald Trump thanked them for making a difference in the November election, and promised, “You came through for me and I am going to come through for you.”
“I am here to deliver good news,” Trump said. “The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end.”
The crowd loved it.
Trump appeared before the NRA leadership conference in 2016 to get the earliest-ever endorsement from the association of any presidential candidate. He promised if he won the election he would appoint a Supreme Court justice who would adhere to the Constitution.
He said that promise was fulfilled by the appointment of Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, filling a seat left vacant by the passing of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia early last year.
The president recalled how the nation began, and how a “ragtag army” of farmers and frontiersmen defeated “the most powerful army in the world.” He reminded the audience that the ultimate goal of those first Americans was to protect the right of a sovereign people to govern their own affairs.”
“We can’t be complacent,” Trump said. “These are dangerous times.”
But he suggested that Americans “will make them good times.”
Leading up to Trump’s speech were remarks from Chris Cox, NRA’s chief lobbyist and Wayne LaPierre, the association’s executive vice president.
Cox brought loud cheers from the audience when he recalled how the news media had made something of an issue out of the crowd size estimate from Trump’s inauguration. But the only number that really mattered, Cox observed, “was the number of people who watched Hillary Clinton’s inauguration…zero!”
LaPierre, who has been with NRA nearly four decades and its CEO for more than 20 years, declared that the three greatest threats to America are “academic elites, political elites and media elites.” There were dozens of members of local and national news organizations in the press section.
He told the audience that there is an “intense war” being waged by “leftist zealots” determined to destroy Trump’s presidency. LaPierre asserted that “the media, they were in on the lie from the beginning.”
He contended that, “the truth doesn’t matter” to today’s media. He said there is “no limit” on how far the truth can be stretched.
There has been a long-standing belief among gun owners that the mainstream press has been dishonest and one-sided about the Second Amendment. Friday’s appearance by the president might be difficult to misrepresent, because Trump removed any doubt that he is firmly on the side of firearms owners.