Donald Trump Uses Orlando Attacks To Promote Gun Rights In A Bold Texas Speech
Donald Trump isn't exactly known for measured campaign rhetoric, but he was apparently feeling particularly riled up on Friday evening. Throwing all caution and tact to a gale force wind during a campaign speech in a Houston suburb, Donald Trump used the Orlando shooting to promote gun rights, calling the shooter behind the attacks a "son of a bitch" who could've been stopped by a gun-wielding citizen.
On his campaign swing through Texas, Trump said this to crowds in The Woodlands, a largely conservative community outside of Houston:
If we had people, where the bullets were going in the opposite direction, right smack between the eyes of this maniac. And this son of a bitch comes out and starts shooting and one of the people in that room happened to have (a gun) and goes boom. You know what, that would have been a beautiful, beautiful sight, folks.
Uh, well, I don't know about a "beautiful sight." I think a person opening fire in the middle of a gay club would've been a horrific sight no matter the outcome, but you can at least see where's he's going with it, particularly when pandering to gun enthusiasts. And Trump's comments received the roaring response he undoubtedly was hoping for. As of Jan. 1, open carry has been legal in Texas. Supporters of the relatively new law have often used rationale similar to Trump's: that with more guns, we could have stopped a gun attack.
Trump, as usual, was very aware of his audience. And he is also aware that his recent stance on gun control has raised a lot of GOP eyebrows. On the Wednesday following the Orlando attacks, Trump tweeted about the possibility that people on the terror watch list shouldn't be able to purchase guns.
As you might imagine, as hyper-vigilant Second Amendment defenders, the National Rifle Association wasn't too thrilled about that idea, which largely goes against the Republican platform. So far, neither the NRA nor the GOP have announced that Trump has sparked any major policy stance shifts.
So this could have been a convenient time to remind a presumably gun-happy crowd that just because he doesn't necessarily want guns in the hands of people on a federal watch list, he certainly doesn't mind citizen vigilantes taking matters into their own hands. So what better way to make that crystal clear than with some Trumpian trumped up rhetoric?