At the end of a school safety roundtable event at the White House on Thursday, President Trump was asked by a reporter if he thinks his proposal to “harden” schools with armed guards and armed teachers will put him at odds with the National Rifle Association, which spent $30 million to elect him.
The president indicated he doesn’t expect any problems.
“I don’t think I’ll be going up against them, I really think the NRA wants to do what’s right,” Trump said. “I mean, they’re very close to me, I’m very close to them. They’re very very great people, they love this country — they’re patriots. The NRA wants to do the right thing.”
It makes sense that Trump doesn’t foresee conflict with the NRA, given that he was speaking at the end of an event where he parroted the pro-gun talking points used earlier in the day by NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre.
Consider some of the pro-gun buzzwords used by LaPierre during his speech earlier Thursday at CPAC. NPR put together an analysis looking at LaPierre’s comments in comparison with what Trump said hours later.
“Can we protect so much with armed security, while we drop our kids off at school, that are so-called gun-free zones, that are wide-open targets for any crazy madman bent on evil to come there first? There first? In every community, PTAs, teachers’ unions, local law enforcement, moms and dads – they all must come together to implement the very best strategy to harden their schools, including effective trained, armed security that will absolutely protect every innocent child in this country. That has to happen now. Evil walks among us, and God help us if we do not harden our schools and protect our kids. …
“I refuse to leave this stage until I say one more time that we must immediately harden our schools. Every day— every day, young children are being dropped off at schools that are virtually wide open, soft targets for anyone bent on mass murder. It should not be easier for a madman to shoot up a school than a bank or a jewelry store or some Hollywood gala. Schools must be the most hardened targets in this country.”
Now compare that with the pro-gun buzzwords Trump used during the White House event (emphasis from NPR).
“We have to harden our schools, not soften them. A gun-free zone to a killer or somebody who wants to be a killer, that’s like going in for the ice cream. That’s like ‘here I am, take me.’ We have to get smart on gun-free zones. When they see ‘this is a gun-free zone,’ that means that nobody has a gun except them, nobody’s going to be shooting bullets in the other direction. And they see that, it’s such a beautiful target. They live for gun-free zones.
“Now what I’d recommend doing is the people that do carry, we give them a bonus, we give them a little bit of a bonus, because frankly they’d feel more comfortable having the gun anyway, you give them a little bit of a bonus, so practically for free you’ve now made the school into a hardened target. …
“You want a hardened school, and I want a hardened school, too.”
CNN put together a video of Trump parroting LaPierre’s lines.
The NRA has made clear that it opposes new regulations on semi-automatic firearms. During the White House event on Thursday, Trump suggested that more guns are the solution to mass shootings.
While Trump clings to the NRA’s talking points and resists legislative gun control efforts, a number of major companies are taking the opposite approach.
As ThinkProgress has reported, First National Bank and Enterprise Holdings severed their business relationships with the NRA following last week’s mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that was perpetrated by a gunman with an AR-15.