Atlanta, Georgia. In a nationally televised speech from what would normally be a group receptive to Donald Trump, the American President used the occasion to use a free pass on reality and insulted a US Senator with a racist nickname while cementing his credentials as crazy in American political circles.
Trump addressed the powerful National Rifle Association, the country’s leading gun lobby group which endorsed his candidacy and donated millions to his campaign. He was the first sitting president to address the NRA since fellow Republican Ronald Reagan did so in 1983.
Mr Trump used the speech yesterday to revisit some of his election campaign themes, including his vow to build a border wall with Mexico, dismissing a Democratic senator with a racist slur as Pocahontas, and perhaps unsurprisingly, resurrecting his unexpected election victory in November over Hillary Clinton, a woman he believes is mentally handicapped.
Trump reiterated his support for the second amendment. “We have news that you’ve been waiting for for a long time,” he told the 80,000 crowd. “The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end. You have a true friend and champion in the White House.” The implication being US gun laws will be relaxed, something that has not happened, like a lot of things Trump promised in Election 2016.
In moves that will be remembered decades from now, Trump then brought up the name of US Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and used a racist nickname he had adopted for her last year. “It may be Pochahontas, and she is not big on the NRA,” Trump said of Ms Warren, who had once said she had some Native American ancestry.
President Trump appeared to have little time for partisan disputes on Friday. Glossing over the failures of his first 100 days in office, including a failed attempt to repeal Obamacare, and federal stays on several of his executive orders, his promises for better Russian-US relations, US exit from NATO, withdrawl of US forces globally, and leaving the UN. Trump simply returned to the sweeping promises characteristic of his campaign.
Topping the list was the US-Mexico border wall, which Mr Trump insisted would still be built. “We need a wall. We’ll build the wall,” Mr Trump said. “Don’t even think about it. Don’t even think about it.”
Continuing his drift into unstable waters, Mr Trump returned to a favourite talking point from the election: Islamic terrorism. On the campaign trail, Mr Trump called for a “a total and complete shutdown on all Muslims entering the United States,” claiming it would increase national security.Trump continued to rail against policies that “allow radical Islamic terrorists to enter right through our front door” in his speech to the NRA. “That’s not going to happen anymore,” Mr Trump promised.
The speech ended with no mention of an impending nuclear war with North Korea, his missile attack upon Syria or the complete destruction of US-Russian relations since his assumption of power, he instead focused on how great his election victory last November was.