On Friday President Trump promised to uphold U.S. sovereignty and resist the influence of the Deep State and foreign nations on America’s governance.
(VERO BEACH, FL) The Commander-in-Chief's visit to the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting marks the first time since Ronald Reagan that a sitting President has spoken at the event.
“We don’t want any longer to be ruled by the bureaucrats in Washington, or in any other country for that matter,” President Trump said. “In America we are ruled by our citizens. We are ruled by each and every one of you, but we can’t be complacent, these are dangerous times, these are horrible times for certain obvious reasons, but were going to make them great times again.”
President Trump also spoke of the testimony of war veteran Captain Levi Preston regarding why he fought at the Battle of Lexington and Concord at the beginning of the American Revolution.
“Next came the shot heard around the world and then a rag tag army of God fearing farmers, frontiers man, shop keepers, merchants, that stood up to the most powerful army at that time on earth,” President Trump said. “But we sometimes forget what inspired those everyday farmers and workers in that great war for independence. Many years after the war a young man asked Captain Levi Preston, age 91, why he fought alongside his neighbors at Concord. ‘Was it the Stamp Act, was it the Tea Tax? Was it a work of philosophy?’ ‘No’ the old veteran replied. ‘Then why’ he was asked. ‘Young man,’ the captain said, ‘what we meant in going for those red coats was this, we always had governed and we always meant to govern ourselves.’"
“Captain Preston’s words are a reminder of what this organization and my administration are all about,” President Trump said. “The right of a sovereign people to govern their own affairs and govern them properly.”
This patriotic message was a classy pairing to how President Trump was initially introduced, to the thunderous performance of "Proud to Be an American" by singer Lee Greenwood.
Also mentioned in President Trump’s speech was a strong pledge to defend the 2nd Amendment, and enforce border laws to keep Americans safe not only from illegal immigration, but from radical Islamic terror. President Trump also firmly promised to build the border wall.
In 1983 President Reagan attended the NRA’s Annual Members Banquet in Phoenix, Arizona and delivered a 33 minute speech calling freedom every American’s “birthright”, and vowing to “never disarm” any citizen who seeks to protect their family.
Before President Trump’s speech the NRA played a short video titled “It’s Morning in America, Once Again,” playing off of Reagan’s 1984 re-election commercial that promised a stronger America.
The video highlighted parts of Reagan’s speech, as well as President Trump’s 2016 address to the NRA, where he accepted their endorsement.
Accompanying President Trump were members of the nationalist wing of the White House, including senior advisor Steve Bannon, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and speech writer Jason Miller. Press Secretary Sean Spicer was also seen departing Air Force One in Atlanta by the White House press pool.
NRA officials claim 10,000 people were in attendance for President Trump’s speech at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum, with hundreds of thousands watching online and on TV.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the NRA broke past records for the organizations campaign spending in election 2016, with approximately $36 million dedicated to supporting then presidential-candidate Donald Trump.
President Trump’s son Donald J. Trump Jr. attended the event separately from his father, and credited the NRA for his fathers victory in Florida and Pennsylvania.
Other VIP’s at the event included Milwaukee Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., Texas Senator Ted Cruz (who flew with the President on Air Force One), former congressman retired Lt. Col. Allen West, Florida governor Rick Scott, and the long standing gun rights duo of Institute for Legislative Action political strategist Chris W. Cox and NRA executive Vice President/CEO Wayne Robert LaPierre, Jr.
In a speech prior to President Trump's address, Wayne Robert LaPierre told attendees that, "Academic elites, political elites and media elites" are "america's greatest domestic threats."
According to the NRA, approximately 80,000 members attended the event, which included booth providing for the first time a virtual reality simulation of an active shooter scenario.
The VR training technology marked a new and innovative way to conduct firearms safety training, without the planning intensive, high risk, and expensive employment of active shooter drills.
Outside the event, protestors conducted a “die-in” at Woodruff Part in downtown Atlanta. Judging by available pictures and video footage the anti-gun activists numbered approximately 100.
Scenes from the die-in near the NRA's annual meeting pic.twitter.com/WI62tB9l6K— Kira Lerner (@kira_lerner) April 28, 2017
Atlanta Representative John Lewis was not seen at the “playing dead” performance outside the convention, but announced that he will be in the area Saturday joining the protests against the NRA.