Just over 24 hours after seeming to embrace stricter gun control measures and stressing the importance of taking on the National Rifle Association (NRA) during a televised bipartisan meeting at the White House, President Donald Trump quickly jumped back to the NRA's side Thursday after an impromptu late-night meeting behind closed doors with the organization's top lobbyist.
"Good (great) $30 million donation from the NRA to the President made this happen!"
—Shannon Watts, Moms Demand Action
"I had a great meeting tonight with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence," Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA's lobbying arm, wrote on Twitter Thursday. "We all want safe schools, mental health reform, and to keep guns away from dangerous people. POTUS and VPOTUS support the Second Amendment, support strong due process, and don't want gun control."
Trump echoed Cox's assessment of the meeting in a tweet just an hour later:
Good (Great) meeting in the Oval Office tonight with the NRA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 2, 2018
The unscheduled meeting came just a day after Trump accused Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) of being "afraid of the NRA" for not including a measure to raise the gun purchasing age to 21 in his bill calling for stronger background checks.
Alarming right-wing lawmakers, pundits, and the NRA, Trump also suggested "taking the guns early" during his meeting with members of Congress on Wednesday.
"Take the guns first, go through due process second," the president said.
Judging by the cheery accounts offered by both Trump and Cox following their Thursday night meeting, it seems that it took the NRA just over a day to convince Trump to completely reverse course and drop his expressed support for stricter gun control measures.
Critics were quick to mock Trump for his deference to the NRA, which spent tens of millions backing him during the 2016 presidential election.
Donald Trump yesterday: “Some of you people are petrified of the NRA...They have great power over you people, they have less power over me.”
Donald Trump today: https://t.co/oXP24IijuX
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) March 2, 2018
Good (Great) $30 million donation from the @NRA to the President made this happen!
It's DISGUSTING that gun lobbyists who seek to profit gun manufacturers at the expense of our communities' safety are meeting with the President just two weeks after the Parkland school shooting. https://t.co/FfHSlsLy6u
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 2, 2018
The NRA spent more than $30 million to elect Trump. Who else is he meeting with? We're suing for the visitor logs. https://t.co/wAqi1VphwF
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) March 2, 2018