Trump made an empty suggestion that the age limit for some guns should be raised. Then the NRA met with him privately, and he fell in line.
Don’t even suggest that some teenagers shouldn’t have access to weapons of war, or the NRA will lean on you. Just ask Trump.
Trump has not taken any official policy positions that would ruffle the feathers of his patrons at the NRA, but even rhetorically straying off the NRA’s plantation prompted swift action from the extremist organization.
After the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida, Trump said he would consider a push to raise the age to purchase some guns to 21. Thus far he has made no official moves to back this rhetoric, which falls into his pattern of floating ideas he has no intention of supporting in his public statements.
Still, this idle chatter apparently concerned the NRA, who has seen their brand grow in toxicity over the weeks since the shooting.
They are very concerned that just talking about restricting teenagers from owning guns that are designed to grind up the human body like meat in war could lead to change.
CNN reports that the NRA “appealed directly” to Trump to back off his rhetoric on age limits. The topic reportedly came up during Trump’s secret meeting with NRA leaders like Wayne LaPierre at a weekend lunch.
After he received his marching orders from the NRA, a congressional source told CNN that Trump is “obviously moving back from that.”
Trump and his presidency represents the outcome of a $36 million investment by the NRA, the most they’ve ever spent to purchase the loyalty of a politician.
In exchange for that transfer of money, Trump has been resistant to popular gun safety proposals, a stance that is central to the NRA’s cause. Key federal officials like Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) have echoed the NRA party line and the flow of cash continues to those politicians.
The personalized brush back against Trump — just for rhetoric — underscores the devil’s bargain involved in working on behalf of the NRA.
If you even bring up the idea that some teens should not have access to weapons of war, even in the effectively meaningless, idle chatter that Trump makes, they will act. Trump received a talking to from his NRA patrons, and he fell in line.