HARRISBURG, Pa.donald trump On Friday, he acknowledged his cowardice when it comes to the epidemic of gun violence in the United States and the resulting slaughter of American children.

Being Trump, he tried to make that seem like a virtue.

At a National Rifle Association gun show in Pennsylvania’s capital on Friday, Trump boasted of his record of inaction.

“During my four years nothing happened,” Trump said. “And there was great pressure on me, related to weapons. We did not do anything. “We didn’t give in.”

That’s Trump telling the truth for a change.

This is what did happen. From Jan. 20, 2017, to Jan. 19, 2021, Trump’s time as president, the country saw 1,714 mass shootings in which four or more people were killed or injured, with 1,679 deaths and 7,355 injuries, according to Everytown for Gun Safety, a non-profit organization. who advocates for solutions to stop gun violence, he told me.

Trump didn’t mention that in his NRA speech. He also skipped context, of course, of the moment six years ago when he suggested making changes to gun laws that the NRA didn’t want, while accusing other Republicans of being too afraid to do so before finally backing off.

Supporters of former President Donald Trump wait to hear him speak at an NRA forum on February 9, 2024 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Supporters of former President Donald Trump wait to hear him speak at an NRA forum on February 9, 2024 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents

Trump and the NRA benefit from our divided country

Trump can’t stand up to the NRA because they are too similar. They sell the same product: division. They turn your fear into their money.

Trump uses that money to seek power and avoid liability, funneling campaign contributions to lawyers in his criminal and civil cases.

Does Trump prefer impeachment or the courts? The former president thought the courts were a safe bet against accusations of election denial. Now? Not so much.

The NRA uses that money to live lavishly (private jets, luxury vacations, custom-made wardrobes) all while posing as a defender of the good, plain-speaking American people.

Its leaders have long since recovered from the momentary disagreement during Trump’s only term as president.

To be clear: The NRA is of no use to the crowd gathered Friday at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex to hear Trump. He is a lobbying arm of this country’s weapons manufacturers.

The NRA doesn’t just want you to buy a gun. He wants you to buy as many weapons as you can. And as with Trump, division is his best marketing tactic.

The constant cry from the NRA is that Democrats want to confiscate everyone’s guns. His speech is always about “the good guy with a gun” getting into a shootout with a “bad guy” with a gun.

Guess what the good guy and the bad guy have in common: They’re both armed with guns made by companies the NRA values ​​more than your life.

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Trump once suggested defending the NRA

Wednesday marks six years since a massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a 19-year-old used a semi-automatic rifle to kill 14 students and three staff members.

Trump hosted a White House meeting on gun reform two weeks later, where he accused Republicans in a bipartisan group of lawmakers of avoiding some gun issues “because they’re afraid of the NRA.”

At the table in that meeting, Trump openly considered raising the age requirement from 18 to 21 to purchase an assault rifle and making it easier to confiscate guns from people considered a danger to themselves or others.

But he also supported an NRA-backed plan to arm teachers in schools.

Who’s afraid of the NRA? That’s all Trump. And because? The NRA spent more than $31 million to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

The NRA Clearly Only Cares About Money

In 2020, as the NRA was splintering in an internal conflict over its leaders’ lavish spending, the group still spent more than $16 million in Trump’s losing battle against Joe Biden.

This has never been a gun issue, either for Trump or the NRA. It’s about money.

Wayne LaPierre, the NRA leader who resigned last month, acknowledged in testimony during a civil trial that he spent the group’s money and accepted gifts from salesmen to live a lifestyle of private flights, luxury vacations and tailored suits. .

He’s gone, but the arms trade continues.

Trump’s speech on Friday was the closing event of the NRA’s Great American Outdoor Show. A ticket to hear Trump was $15 or free with a new membership in the group, ranging from $45 for a year or $1,500 for a lifetime membership.

Charles Cotton, president of the NRA, introduced Trump and said the group “had no better friend” than the former president.

Trump will not cross paths with the NRA again but will tell us to “get over” the violence

The crowd, many of them dressed in outfits emblazoned with Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan, greeted him enthusiastically when he took the stage.

But Trump soon grew lethargic, appearing tired, and the crowd matched his energy as he repeated over and over his usual complaints about immigration, crime and the economy.

He twice predicted a “100% chance” of a major terrorist attack in the near future and the advent of World War III if he were not re-elected president.

“An entire generation of young people could very well be decimated by something that could very well happen,” Trump said of that imagined war.

Republican Party impeachment case against the president: You know what Republicans don’t need for an investigation of Biden? Apparently, evidence.

He did not dare to mention the generations who have seen classmates killed and injured at school. Trump rarely seems to learn from his mistakes, but crossing paths with the NRA is not a misstep he will repeat.

He has a new approach to the massacre of children in classrooms: “get over it.”

Campaigning last month, ahead of the Iowa caucuses, Trump referred to a recent school shooting that left an 11-year-old boy and his principal dead and six wounded before the 17-year-old gunman killed himself.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a caucus night party in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 15, 2024.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a caucus night party in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 15, 2024.

“It’s just horrible, very surprising to see it here,” Trump said while campaigning for office where he said he did nothing to stop this kind of thing. “But we have to get over it, we have to move on.”

Unfortunately, school shootings are no longer a surprise. Neither is Trump’s shrug at the carnage and his eagerness to go ahead and profit from the NRA while doing nothing to stop it.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump’s NRA speech shows his cowardice in the face of gun violence and school shootings.

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