Watched Donald Trump’s address to the National Rifle Association yesterday on CNN. Embarrassed to fall victim to the media’s 24/7 coverage of this megalomaniac, but I really wanted to see whether he would acknowledge his flip-flop on gun control. Of course, he did not. The scariest thing was to see how he won over this somewhat-mixed audience, some of whom no doubt remember that he praised Obama’s speech after Newtown and used to support a ban on assault weapons.
There was very tepid applause at the beginning, but as he began to go back and forth between his prepared text (mostly statistics…mostly wrong) and his usual campaign stump speech, first some applauded louder, then some began standing to applaud, more participated in the “standing O’s” and by the end everyone appeared to be on their feet.
This due to manifold lies about “Heartless Hillary” Clinton’s wish to repeal the Second Amendment (lie), collect our guns (lie), and release violent criminals back on to the street (lie). This despite the face that even he admitted some discomfort with the number of guns his elephant-slaughtering sons possess. Guess that was mitigated by his reminding the audience of his license to carry and a veiled threat to fire should anyone try to “hit Trump.”
The man is diabolically shrewd however. He pointed out that, while Hillary wants to take away everyone else’s guns (again, a lie) she and Bill are protected around the clock by gun-toting Secret Service agents. If she wants to persist in banning guns, Trump suggested, her body guards should “disarm immediately.” Standing ovation. Now, you must admit, that has a certain simplistic logic which appeals to lots and lots of people who lack the ability or the will actually to think things through!
Unsaid, of course, is the fact that Secret Service agents (like the police, the military, and others who lawfully carry weapons in the performance of their duties) have extensive background checks, participate in regular training on the gun-range, and could actually expected to hit something besides innocent bystanders should they ever be required to discharge their weapons.
Trumps’ support among white males (the overwhelming majority of the NRA audience) continues to be formidable. With early polls indicating that Hillary Clinton’s “lead” may have slipped from ten points to about six, I believe the only hope we have is for women, African Americans and Latinos, college educated folks and young people to stand together early and often to get out the vote and assure a solid defeat for this dangerous and unstable Republican candidate.
Get it, Bernie? Hang in there until the last ballot is cast, if you must. But stop giving the GOP ammunition to use against Hillary in the general election. And, as soon as you can in good conscience do it, throw your complete and unwavering support behind the most qualified candidate ever to run for the presidency.
By the way, the National Rifle Associations’ leadership (without consulting the membership) endorsed Donald Trump. Surprise, surprise.