The Washington Post does not appear very happy that the National Rifle Association officially endorsed Donald Trump for President, just moments before the Republican Presidential candidate took the stage at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum (sponsored by Townhall Media/Bearing Arms) on Friday.
Donald Trump — who just a few years ago praised President Obama’s appeal for stronger gun control after the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. — was endorsed and embraced by the National Rifle Association on Friday, completing his rapid transformation into a fierce pro-gun advocate.
Instead of detailing his own positions on gun rights issues at a political forum attended by thousands of NRA members, Trump told the crowd that Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton would “abolish the Second Amendment” and then release violent criminals from prison, not caring that innocent citizens would be unable to protect themselves.
“Hillary wants to disarm vulnerable Americans in high-crime neighborhoods,” Trump said. “Whether it’s a young single mom in Florida or a grandmother in Ohio, Hillary wants them to be defenseless, wants to take away any chance they have of survival. . . . And that’s why we’re going to call her ‘Heartless Hillary.’ ”
The media is not alone in feeling perplexed or even outraged by the NRA’s endorsement of the bombastic presumptive Republican nominee. “Never Trump” proponents—made up primarily of conservatives and libertarians who find themselves opposed to the candidate—blasted the choice, and many threatened to cancel their NRA memberships.
Attendees at the NRA-ILA Leadership forum seemed to mostly be enthusiastic about the Trump nomination, but there was a distinct air of resignation among a number of attendees who were slow to clap for Trump’s applause lines.
So why did the NRA endorse a candidate like Trump, who has had a well-documented past of supporting gun control?
Ultimately, it comes down to what might be best characterized as “pragmatic trust.”
The “trust” is that Trump has had a clear and sincere change of heart on Second Amendment issues. His sons are both avid hunters and shooters, and so perhaps they’ve helped their father’s education and evolution on firearms.
The “pragmatic” part is obvious: Trump is the last man standing on the Republican side, and is facing off against Hillary Clinton. Clinton has declared that the oldest and largest civil rights in the United States is her enemy, and has waged the first ever Presidential campaign against a core constitutional right, the right to bear arms.
Clinton represents a clear and direct threat to the Second Amendment rights of American citizens, making the NRA’s support of Trump a no-brainer.
Is it a position that will be supported by every NRA member? Clearly not.
The fact remains that Donald Trump is the most viable option we have to defeat Hillary Clinton.