President Donald Trump received two big endorsements on Thursday, one of which may be a little more of a surprise than the other. First, the National Rifle Association announced it’s backing the president in his bid for a second term, with NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre and NRA-ILA executive director Jason Ouimet writing in a letter to Trump that he has “fundamentally transformed the federal judiciary and helped ensure the freedom of generations of Americans” and “has done more than any president to protect the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”
The letter also praises the president for the administration’s declaration that the firearms industry is considered an “essential” component of the nation’s workforce, saying that the move “prompted states to re-open gun stores that had been forcibly closed – affirming our shared belief that Second Amendment rights are non-negotiable.”
While the endorsement by the NRA may not be surprising (did anyone really think that Joe Biden was in the running?), the president picked up an endorsement from another organization that previously endorsed Joe Biden and Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012. The National Association of Police Organizations didn’t endorse either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in 2016, but this year they’re backing Trump for a second term.
“Our endorsement recognizes your steadfast and very public support for our men and women on the front lines, especially during this time of unfair and inaccurate opprobrium being directed at our members by so many,” wrote the group’s president, Michael McHale.
The group also praised Trump for directing Attorney General Bill Barr to “aggressively prosecute those who attack our officers,” a reference to ongoing nationwide protests against racial injustice in the aftermath of George Floyd’s police-custody death, some of which have included violence against police officers.
Speaking on Fox News on Thursday, McHale said that the president had received the support of more than 2/3rds of its voting members, and the New York Post reported that the Trump campaign was quick to tout the endorsement of one of the largest police organizations in the country.
“Joe Biden has done nothing to stop his party’s ‘defund the police’ movement and remains silent as police officers across the country are being attacked by violent rioters and protesters,” Bob Paduchik, the campaign’s senior advisor for law enforcement and labor unions, said in a statement.
“This endorsement for President Trump highlights that as the Law and Order President, he is defending the hardworking people who risk their own lives every day to keep our communities safe.”
The president could use some good election news at the moment, with some polls showing him down to Joe Biden by double-digits at the moment. I don’t think that will hold until Election Day, but with the president himself shaking up his campaign team, there’s no doubt that Donald Trump would be considered the underdog if the election were held today.
However, things could look quite a bit different by the time we reach November, and there are some valid reasons to suspect that polls may be undercounting support for the president right now. Back in 2016, the “shy Trump supporter” phenomenon was definitely real, and as a reporter friend asked me in a conversation just a few days ago, do you think there are fewer or more Americans in 2020 who are unwilling to publicly talk about their support for the president?
Cancel culture was around in 2016, but things like boycotting a company because its CEO praised the president weren’t commonplace four years ago. I think it’s fair to assume that there are likely more shy Trump voters than there were four years ago, but the real question is how many voters overall does the president have in his corner right now; both shy and outspoken alike?
The endorsements by the National Rifle Association and the National Association of Police Organizations are both important signals to gun owners and law enforcement that the president has their back, as well as a reminder that Joe Biden, if elected, would pursue a disastrous policy of implementing sweeping gun control laws like a ban on AR-15s, gun licensing, and red flag firearm seizure orders all aimed at legal, law-abiding gun owners while also cutting funding for law enforcement to go after actual violent offenders. The question now is whether or not a majority of voters actually want liberty, law, and order or if they’d prefer the promise of revolutionary chaos that a Biden presidency would deliver.