President Trump was in fine, unhinged form during his appearance at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Dallas on Friday. He did everything from graphically describing and acting out acts of mass killing with guns to dissing John Kerry and thanking Kanye West.
There were very few coherent through-lines, except for Trump’s repeated assertion that he will strive to protect the Second Amendments from liberals who want to take away everyone’s guns.
“Your Second Amendment rights are under siege, but they will never, ever be under siege, as long as I’m your president,” Trump said, almost certainly not realizing the contradiction.
That came after the president offered up lengthy shout-outs to all his faves in attendance: NRA zealot Dana Loesch, Toilet Paper USA founder Charlie Kirk, Facebook free speech warriors Diamond and Silk, and Senator Ted Cruz, whose father Trump once accused of being involved in a plot to murder JFK.
Amid audible chants of “USA! USA! USA!” and random voices saying “I love you!” (Trump said he loves them right back) here’s an incomplete rundown of some of the rest of the mishmash of topics the president touched on.
On Kanye West
Kanye West must have some power, because you probably saw, I doubled my African American poll numbers. We went from 11 to 22 in one week. Thank you, Kanye, thank you.
(Trump was likely referring to recent polling by Reuters that, when the results are filtered for black male respondents, does show his approval numbers increasing from 11 to 22%. But as HuffPost pointed out, other polls didn’t show that same bump.)
On the 2015 terror attacks in France
Nobody has guns in Paris, nobody. And we all remember more than 130 people, plus tremendous numbers of people that were horribly, horribly wounded—you notice nobody ever talks about them. They talk about the people that died, but they never mention that 250 people had horrible, horrible wounds. They never mention that.
They were brutally killed by a small group of terrorists that had guns. They took their time and gunned them down one by one. BOOM, come over here, BOOM, come over here, BOOM. [Trump punctuated each “boom” by pantomiming a finger gun blast.] If you were in those rooms, one of those people, and the survivors said ‘It just lasted forever.’ But if one employee or just one patron had a gun or if one person in this room had been there with a gun aimed at the opposite direction, the terrorists would’ve fled or been shot, and it would’ve been a whole different story.
On knives being even worse than guns, probably
I read a story that in London, which has unbelievably tough gun laws, a once very prestigious hospital right in the middle is like a war zone for horrible stabbing wounds. Yes, that’s right, they don’t have guns, they have knives!
And instead, there’s blood all over the floors of this hospital. They say it’s as bad as a military war zone hospital
Knives, knives, knives. [Trump did stabby motions while saying this part.]
On his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort
Paul Manafort’s a nice guy, but he worked for me for a very short period of time...He’s a good person, he is, i really believe he’s a good person
On his ability to pack a room
If we called for a rally in Washington DC, there wouldn’t be enough room! [Note: He already did this at the inauguration, and we all know how that turned out.]
On the scourge of immigration
[Calling back to his June 2015 announcement speech] They’re not sending their finest, that I can tell you. We’re getting some real beauties in here.
We have [immigration] laws that were written by people who truly could not love our country.
On guns in schools
Mental health is a big one, they don’t want to talk about mental health.
There’s no sign more inviting to a [mass murderer] than a sign that states that this is a gun free zone.
On John Kerry and the Iran nuclear deal
Same thing with Iran, remember? We’re signing that horrible deal and they’re marching in the streets saying ‘death to America.’ I said who signs a deal when they’re saying ‘death to America’?
And we have the former administration, as represented by John Kerry, not the best negotiator we’ve ever seen, he never walked away from the table, except to be in that bicycle race when he fell and broke his leg.
But he broke his leg. And I learned from that, at 73 years old, you never go into a bicycle race, just don’t. You just don’t do that. I’m not 73, he was. But I’ll be there!
Trump ended his nearly hour-long address on a soothing note, telling the assembled gun lovers: “I’m doing the right thing...We’re doing the right thing together.”
Whatever you need to tell yourselves. Watch the whole thing here.