President Donald Trump made a speech Friday at the annual National Rifle Association (NRA) meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana — one that contained all of the intensity of his campaign speeches. It marks his fifth consecutive speech at the annual meeting, and per CNN, Trump used the occasion to announce that he’s pulling out of the United Nations arms trading treaty to the crowd of guns rights activists, who are some of his most loyal supporters.
“The United Nations will soon receive a formal notice that the United States is rejecting this treaty.”
Trump then signed a message to the Senate in front of the audience in his signature dramatic fashion.
“As part of this decision, I will sign right now in front of a lot of witnesses, a lot, a message asking the Senate to discontinue the ratification process and to return the now rejected treaty right back to me in the Oval Office where I will dispose of it.”
The president said that his decision to withdraw from the treaty is a reaffirmation of the sacred nature of American liberty, and stressed that the United States lives by its own laws — not those of other countries.
After signing the document to cheers from the crowd, Trump threw the “famous pen” into the crowd to an audience member.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 26, 2019
Trump claims that the U.N treaty is “badly misguided” and used his speech to position himself as a warrior for gun rights to the NRA, which Global News reports is struggling to maintain its influence.
“It’s under assault,” he said referring to the constitutional right to bear arms.
“But not while we’re here.”
The president has enjoyed a close relationship with the gun lobby and its activists for the duration of his presidency after they spent over $30 million to help him win the 2016 presidential election. And with the 2020 election just around the corner, Trump is likely looking to start building support for his reelection campaign by tapping into the same voters that helped him in 2016.
Trump’s speech comes off the heels of the Mueller report, which revealed many instances where he attempted to obstruct justice but failed due to the disobedience of his staff. As he left the White House to head to the NRA meeting in Indianapolis, he continued to lash out at the report and denied directing Don McGahn to fire Mueller — although he stood by his right to do so if he wished.
“We had the absolute right.”