President Donald Trump on Thursday claimed that people “don’t understand” that the National Rifle Association’s leadership are “Great American Patriots,” a week after 17 people died in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Trump tweeted that people “don’t understand” or “don’t want to understand” that NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and executive director Chris Cox are “Great People and Great American Patriots.”
“They love our Country and will do the right thing,” Trump tweeted.
What many people don’t understand, or don’t want to understand, is that Wayne, Chris and the folks who work so hard at the @NRA are Great People and Great American Patriots. They love our Country and will do the right thing. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018
During the 2016 presidential election, the NRA spent nearly $20 million attacking Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, and spent $11 million in support of Trump, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
It was not clear what Trump meant when he said that LaPierre and Cox “will do the right thing,” but the NRA on Wednesday said it is opposed to Trump’s proposal to increase the minimum age to purchase a rifle.
Trump on Thursday said that he also supports banning bump stocks — devices that make semi-automatic weapons function like automatic guns — and reforming the background check process for purchasing guns, specifically with regard to people with mental illnesses.
Earlier Thursday morning, Trump claimed that he had suggested giving “concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience” who would then be able to “immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions.”
At a town hall discussion Wednesday evening, NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch told student survivors of last week’s Florida school shooting that the NRA is supportive of background checks, though the organization has historically been opposed to closing a loophole that allows some sellers at gun shows to skip that step.
Loesch on Thursday blamed the Parkland massacre on the FBI. She claimed that the NRA is not responsible for following up on “red flags” raised by gun owners and claimed the FBI “dropped the ball” with regard to the alleged Parkland gunman.