Continuing the tradition he began in 2017, his first year in office, President Trump addressed the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) Leadership Forum Friday, April 28 in Indianapolis, Indiana. From the words of Chris Cox, the executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, to the messages of both Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump, the theme was the same: The right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms for defense of self, family, and community stands at the core of American values. Trump, Pence, and the men and women of the NRA are portrayed as freedom fighters, defending that right and all others from the Hollywood elite, the billionaire financiers behind the anti-gun Democrats, and socialists across the nation.
Guns, God, and Freedom
Chris Cox established this theme by lamenting on the change that overtook Hollywood. Once it was full of folk we would want our kids to emulate, like Charlton Heston. When he wasn’t marching for civil rights, he was out doing what the rest of the populace does: enjoy life. But now it’s populated by people we wouldn’t want our kids around at all. Today, we’re stuck with celebrity elites who would rather tell everyone else how to live than effectively manage their own lives. “Hollywood can keep their lies, lectures, and hypocrisy,” Cox said. “We’ll keep our guns, God, and freedom.”
Christian, Conservative, Republican
When Vice President Pence took the podium, he thanked Chris Cox for the introduction but said that his old friend knew he preferred a shorter one. “I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican – in that order,” he declared. The former Indiana governor then took a moment to recognize the people present, mentioning once again Cox, NRA President Oliver North, NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre, Indiana Governor Eric Halcomb (R), Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin (R), Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA), and Donald Trump. He called the president a “great champion of freedom who, I can tell you personally, gets up every day and fights to keep the promises he made to all the American people.” Later on, he said that Trump has been fighting for freedom since the first day of the election.
Pence identified the right to keep and bear arms as fundamental to both maintaining freedom and winning it from the start. The Founders, he explained, won independence with the power of their ideas and the powder in their muskets. The pioneers won the frontier with their daring and courage – and their Springfields, Winchesters, and Colts. Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and the entire administration will stand with the NRA, he said, because firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens protect families rather than threaten them, and make communities more safe, not less.
The vice president went on to discuss a variety of conservative ideas, tying each one to the NRA and the right to bear arms by pairing them with each issue through those on the other side. The same people who want to take away your right to bear arms advocate … late-term abortions and infanticide, socialism, and granting violent criminals in prison the right to vote. They threaten the very freedom to live and work and denigrate the faith of millions of Americans.
“I’ll make you a promise,” he declared, “under this president and this vice president, no one is taking your guns. Under this president and this administration, the right to bear arms shall not be infringed.”
So Much Winning
Vice President Pence touted the increase in defense spending and support for law enforcement. He described Trump cutting more red tape than any other president in American history, signing the largest tax cut in American history, and appointing more “principled conservative judges” to federal courts in the last two years than any other president in American history.
The economy is doing great. Unemployment is down, job creation is up, and the GDP increased by 3.2% in the first quarter of 2019. And it’ll be even better by the time Trump leaves office – six years from now. “America is winning again,” he said. But to keep it going, the NRA and everyone else who support the Second Amendment must stay in the fight because freedom is under attack like never before. A growing number of billionaires, led by George Soros, Tom Steyer, Michael Bloomberg, are dumping billions of dollars into the push to disarm the people, Pence said. But he has faith that the administration and the American people can defend against the attack.
Before leaving the stage, the vice president thanked the people for their support and for the humbling honor of being allowed to serve.
God, Not Government
President Trump took the podium to the roar of applause and thanked Chris Cox, Wayne LaPierre, and Oliver North, saying he was thrilled to be there with the NRA. He went on to acknowledge Vice President Pence, Governor Halcomb, Senators Mike Braun (R-IN) and Todd Young (R-IN), Representatives Greg Pence (R-IN), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Jim Baird (R-IN), and Jim Banks (R-IN). He also thanked Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, and Rep. Steve Scalise – who he called “a man with more courage than most of us here today” – and all the card-carrying members of the NRA.
The president proclaimed a shared, American belief in the rule of law, and promised to always defend the Constitution of the United States. But he pointed out that not everyone feels the same. “Some of the people running right now,” he said, “I don’t think they have that number one on their list.” Trump talked about the resignation of some “bad apples,” and called the corruption being exposed at the highest levels of government a disgrace.
“We believe in the wisdom of our Founders, and the right to keep and bear arms,” he said, adding that America is about faith and family, not government and bureaucracy. “We don’t worship government,” he said. “We worship God.”
The Future: Never Brighter
The president went on to tout how the nation has improved so far. GDP is up, as Pence mentioned earlier, 3.2% in the first quarter – which Trump explains is always the worst quarter. Had we kept the same interest rates and quantitative easing as the Obama administration, the number would be even higher, he said. American exports are on the rise, the stock market is seeing new highs, and nearly six million jobs have been created since he took office.
Trump then made the first of a few jabs at the left-leaning, mainstream media outlets present. They’d have roasted him for saying he would accomplish so much during the campaign, he claimed, before calling them all fake news. The future has never been brighter, he said. But the Democrats have never been angrier – especially now that their “collusion delusion” has been exposed.
Keep America Great
“Far left radicals in Congress want to take away your voice, your jobs, your rights, and especially your guns,” the president announced before reminding everyone that the next election isn’t as far away as it might seem. He explained the new slogan: Keep America Great. With all that has been accomplished so far and all that will be done still, America is great again. But the socialists and far left Democrats want to – and easily can, if given a chance – undo it all. Everything that has been accomplished can be taken away if the wrong people are elected.
“Democrats have proposed banning new guns and confiscating existing guns from law-abiding citizens,” Trump said. “But what they aren’t telling you is that the bad guys aren’t giving up their guns.” Trump explained how the Democrats rejected the bill that would have required ICE be notified any time an illegal attempts to purchase a gun. Then he talked about how the Democrats welcomed illegals to their sanctuary cities – until the Trump administration started talking about busing those looking for asylum to them. Now they’re not so happy about it.
Trump explained that despite constant resistance from the Democrats – “Dealing with these people is very difficult, if you haven’t noticed” – the Wall is being built. Over 400 miles will be completed by the end of next year, he promised. He issued a challenge to Democrats to change immigration laws so that the hordes of asylum seekers currently trying to cross wherever they can wouldn’t benefit from crossing illegally.
For more of the president’s speech, check out Trump Brings Down the House at NRA Forum – Part II.
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