U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- A report at Business Insider asserting that Donald Trump Jr. “might weigh a run to take over as the head of the National Rifle Association as a way to stay involved in politics,” was dismissed as “fake news” by the younger Trump in a tweet, but it still set off a firestorm as other online news sources picked up the initial report and ran with it.
At the same time, Trump Jr.’s tweet ignited a fury of reactions on Twitter, with more than 10,800 “likes,” 2,000 retweets and at least 127 “Quote Tweets.” Many of the replies to Trump’s initial denial were snarky at best.
Aside from the social media sneering, some observations from other news and opinion outlets raise serious issues, not the least of which are NRA’s current legal troubles, and at the center of this storm is longtime Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, the man who would ostensibly be replaced by the president’s son.
I love and support the @NRA and have been a longtime member, but I don’t want Wayne’s job. This story is total fake news.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) December 4, 2020
As noted by Newsmax, “LaPierre…is presiding over a tumultuous time at the NRA, which has been hit with infighting and legal battles, particularly with the state of New York…The NRA strife and legal troubles might be an avenue for declining support for LaPierre, leaving Trump Jr. a potential path to becoming its new leader”
Raw Story had this to say: “The National Rifle Association is in deep distress. The New York Attorney General is trying to completely shut it down. There are reports of massive accounting and cash irregularities, including lavish lifestyle payments for its top brass.”
A story appearing in The Independent, a UK-based publication, observed, “Taking over the NRA might also prove more of a headache than Mr. Trump Jr is willing to take on; the organization has been wracked with infighting and legal battles for the better part of a year.”
And Mediaite weighed in, noting, “The NRA has struggled with allegations of impropriety in recent years, including a lawsuit filed this year by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) claiming executives including Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre had taken inflated compensation packages. In September, former NRA Executive Director Joshua Powell, who the NRA fired in January, published a book blasting his former employer, saying it had fueled “a toxic debate” around guns.”
But a report posted at Yahoo News quoted an unidentified source with apparently close ties to the Trumps stated, “Don is just not getting involved in that pissing match.”
And in his Twitter message, Trump Jr. stated emphatically, “I love and support the @NRA and have been a longtime member, but I don’t want Wayne’s job. This story is total fake news.”
The younger Trump is widely known to be an enthusiastic hunter and shooter. He has visited the NRA’s annual conventions, stopping to chat with various vendors while handling and examining different firearms on display. That fact, alone, could easily lend credence to the story initially put forth by Business Insider and picked up by so many others.
AmmoLand News reached out to NRA for a reaction but did not receive an immediate reply.
But here is the most important question: What would a Trump Jr. run for the top administrative post at NRA really accomplish?
The executive vice president is elected by the 76-member Board of Directors, not the millions of NRA members. Currently, LaPierre appears to have the support of a majority of directors, if not unanimous backing; NRA has always been at its best from behind circled wagons and past experience has demonstrated that when the organization is under attack, insiders set aside their disagreements and unite. For the younger Trump to take the NRA helm would mean LaPierre would either have to step aside or be turned out of office by a majority of the board. That does not appear likely.
While Trump Jr. might offer a different face at the head of the embattled gun rights group, he would enjoy no “honeymoon” with the media or the NRA’s political foes. They would go for his jugular, perhaps even more viciously than LaPierre’s, simply because of his last name. Already, in its report, Raw Story felt compelled to write, “The president’s eldest son has been known for years as a vile ‘big game’ hunter, spending countless sums of money to literally slaughter animals, some endangered, in Africa and other locales.”
As the Independent noted, for the younger Trump, this would become a headache he doesn’t need.
Only a day before this Trump Jr. story broke, Mother Jones ran a lengthy piece declaring in its headline, “A More Extreme Gun Rights Movement Is Emerging in the NRA’s Wake.” The article discussed last January’s huge rally of gun owners in Richmond, Virginia, and what that could mean if the NRA is replaced.
“The rally was a bellwether: the sudden downfall of the nation’s most powerful gun group and the rise of more radical pro-gun organizations and militias seeking to take its place,” wrote Mother Jones’ Matt Cohen. “Since 2016, the NRA has seen a steady decline in its ranks. Meanwhile, there’s been a boon in membership for more extreme groups like the VCDL and the Second Amendment Foundation, which recently filed a number of lawsuits challenging state gun control laws, and the National Association for Gun Rights, which paints itself as a more conservative alternative to the NRA.”
SAF could hardly be called an “extreme” organization, unless one considers using the Constitution to challenge restrictive state and local gun control laws as somehow extreme. According to founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb, SAF is responsible for about 80 percent of successful gun law litigation, occasionally partnering with NRA and/or other rights groups including the Firearms Policy Coalition and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. SAF was recently profiled by AmmoLand News here.
However, when such allegations are leveled, it is important to keep some things in perspective. Many people looking to stir up yet another NRA-related controversy suggesting Trump Jr. might make a run at LaPierre are often the same people who look at any group, or individual, sticking up for the Second Amendment as bad.
For them, it has been observed, the Second Amendment is a “loophole.”
About Dave Workman