President Donald Trump has dropped any pretenses of moving to regulate guns more following another recent wave of mass shootings. Instead, he decided to have a nice phone call with the leader of the gun group that reportedly spent $31 million on his 2016 campaign, according to a report published in the Atlantic Tuesday.
Trump told the Chief Executive of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, that he was not interested in pursuing universal background checks.
“It’s going to be great, Wayne,” Trump reportedly told LaPierre, “They will love us,” referring to the 5 million members of the NRA.
Then, he assured him: “I’ll give you cover.”
“Wayne’s listening to that and thinking, Uh, no, Mr. President, we give you cover,” a former White House official told the Atlantic.
“He’s not waffling on [background checks] anymore,” a source told the Atlantic. Instead, Trump is reportedly interested in increasing funding for mental health care (a theoretically good idea if it were only for healthcare and not criminalizing illness), and prosecuting “gun crimes” through the Justice Department. None of this addresses the prevalence of assault rifles in America.
According to NRA spokesman, Andrew Arulanandam: “To those who know our members and understand the issue, they realize that if they support any ban, registration scheme, or other draconian gun-control measures, our members will demand accountability,” he said. “And our members have long memories.”
The gun group spent more than $5 million on lobbying in 2018, according to an analysis of campaign finance data from the Center for Responsive Politics. They even lobbied against a bill that included a provision to take away guns from domestic abusers.
The NRA has faced several controversies this year—thanks to LaPierre’s spending habits, not their political spending like you might guess. The group spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on glam squads for LaPierre’s wife, Susan, according to the Daily Beast, which, to be honest, seems like one of the less violent ways the group could spend money. The group allegedly agreed to spend $6.5 million on a mansion for the LaPierres in Dallas, Texas. At least 7 board members have allegedly stepped down since May.