President Donald Trump was in Dallas Friday to speak at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention. His decision to speak at the convention, in light of everything that’s happened in the literal four months that have made up 2018, was controversial enough. But Donald Trump, being Donald Trump, went ahead and gave the press exactly what they wanted: heart palpitations, sanctimonious feelings of superiority, and the vapors, basically.
What’s odd is that statements like the following are what starts the anxious wringing of hands among the educated elite:
“Your Second Amendment rights are under siege, but they will never, ever be under siege as long as I’m your president,” Trump told the supportive crowd in a campaign-style speech.
Friday’s address was his first to a guns rights group since the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and spurred demonstrations across the nation for tougher restrictions on firearms.
That lead off sentence used to be considered a good quality to have in the President of the United States. But anti-gun activists (many of whom are in the media profession) no longer seem to think the 2nd Amendment is worthy of protecting. And, in fact, have done a great deal of work trying to re-brand it as something dangerous and possibly a little evil.
But Trump likes to flood the zone. He knows any support of the 2nd Amendment will have the bespectacled betters frantically texting editors just how out of touch he is and reasserting to their echo chambers exactly what’s right and proper and good.
So Trump goes all in because (I think) he enjoys watching them scramble (Admittedly, it is pretty entertaining).
The president bounced from topic to topic, addressing everything from the importance of arming teachers, to thanking music artist Kanye West for helping double his approval ratings among African-Americans. West has expressed his support for Mr. Trump in recent days, even sporting a “Make America Great Again” hat.
“Kanye West must have some power, because you probably saw, I doubled my African-American poll numbers. We went from 11 to 22 in one week, thank you, Kanye,” the president said. “When I saw the numbers I said that must be a mistake, how did that happen?”
The president’s address came at a time when the NRA faces intense opposition from advocates of more gun restrictions, after mass shootings like the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting that left 17 dead. The NRA’s response has been to double down on promoting Second Amendment rights. According to the local CBS station in Dallas, the city prepared for protesters ahead of the speech.
Before Mr. Trump took office, the last sitting president to address the NRA was Ronald Reagan, in 1983. Mr. Trump has addressed the group multiple times.
Kanye (gasp)? Arming teachers (swoon)? Joking about John Kerry breaking his leg (faints)? He did all that.
Oh, and he also talked about the federal judge who had, just hours before, decided that maybe special counsel Robert Mueller was swayed by a less-than-admirable agenda in bringing charges against Paul Manafort. I didn’t hear of any reporters going into apoplectic shock, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it happened.
Politifact has already fact-checked the speech and determined it “not accurate” and the headlines almost drip with “Omg, can you believe what he talked about to those people?”
Meanwhile, Trump looked like he was having a grand old time because he knows he’s given them plenty to hem and haw over this weekend, while he goes to Ohio and meets with “supporters” at a private event (which usually means a fundraiser) in relative peace.
One may have their criticisms of Donald Trump the man, but he’s got the formula for keeping the press off his back down pat. Not a bad skill to have when you’re trying to get some work done.