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Donald Trump tells NRA crowd US gun rights are ‘under siege’

Donald Trump tells NRA crowd US gun rights are ‘under siege’
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Former US president Donald Trump, in Dallas to address the National Rifle Association convention, said that Second Amendment rights were under attack as part of a deterioration of America under President Joe Biden.

“Our Second Amendment is under siege. Our Constitution is being run through the shredder. Our borders are being obliterated,” Trump told convention delegates on Saturday, who responded with several loud cheers.

“It’s time for a president who will replace weakness with strength, turn poverty to prosperity and vanquish Joe Biden’s corrupt tyranny with a great restoration of American freedom,” he said.

Trump used a phrase from his old television show, The Apprentice, to sum up the election in a fiery 100-minute speech that included touches of humour.

Former US president Donald Trump speaks during the Leadership Forum at the National Rifle Association annual convention in Dallas, promising to boost the Texas energy industry if re-elected. Photo: Bloomberg

“To achieve the future you have to march into the voter booth and tell crooked Joe Biden, ‘Joe, you’re doing a horrible job. You’re a horrible president.’” Trump said.

“Like The Apprentice, Joe you’re fired. Get out of here, Joe.”

Trump also promised that as president he will implement history’s largest deportation of undocumented migrants.

“It will be a big one,” he said.

Trump also promised to boost the Texas energy industry.

“Drill baby, drill,” he said.

Before Trump’s NRA speech, his campaign announced a new Gun Owners for Trump coalition led by “over 50 Olympic athletes, firearm industry leaders and Second Amendment advocates”.

And, as expected, NRA officials announced on Saturday the group had endorsed Trump.

Trump’s Dallas speech offered a respite from his New York trial over whether he committed felony business fraud related to hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Photo: Reuters

Democrats criticised Trump’s appearance at the NRA convention, which comes in the same month as the one-year anniversary of the May 6 mass shooting at Allen Premium Outlets, where a man with an AR-15 assault-style weapon killed eight people and injured seven others.

“There is one thing that drives this senseless epidemic – the shameless inaction of the Republican Party that has been bought and paid for by the NRA,” Dallas County Democratic Party chairman Kardal Coleman said in a statement.

“To add insult to injury, the city of Dallas and Texas could pay a combined US$1 million in taxpayer dollars to host a convention that does not reflect the values of Dallasites.”

Trump’s Dallas speech offered a respite from his New York trial over whether he committed felony business fraud related to hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

On Monday, Trump’s lawyers will continue cross examining Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer who is central to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case.

“They want to take away my rights worse than Alphonse Capone,” Trump said. “He got indicted less than I did.”

Throughout his speech Trump praised Texas. And he told delegates he played golf Saturday with former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

Trump has called Texas a fundraising hub for his presidential campaigns, his second home. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick leads Trump’s Texas campaign and has advised the former president on state issues like border security and energy, as well as helping to make endorsements of statewide and local candidates.

Several high-profile Texans listened to Trump’s speech at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, including Patrick and US Representatives Pat Fallon and Ronny Jackson.

Some Texas Republican House candidates also were there, including David Covey, who’s trying to unseat House Speaker Dade Phelan.

Trump called Phelan “an absolutely terrible speaker of the House”.

“He didn’t want to go into voter fraud,” Trump said. “He didn’t want to do it. … We have to get the speaker out of there.”

Trump also praised Governor Greg Abbott, who addressed the convention before the former president.

“He’s a hot politician,” Trump said of Abbott. “You know why he’s hot? He’s doing a great job.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks ahead of Trump’s speech at the NRA meeting in Dallas. Trump has said Abbott was on his shortlist of potential running mates. Photo: Reuters

Trump has said Abbott was on his shortlist of potential running mates. Abbott responded that he’s flattered to be considered but is focused on leading Texas. He is fully engaged in the Texas Republican primaries, using his time and resources to push candidates who support his plan to allow students to use public dollars for private school expenses.

Much of Abbott’s speech was about border security, where he praised Trump and criticised Biden.

“This crisis is about to come to an end in just six months,” Abbott said. That’s when Joe Biden will be fired as president of the United States of America, and Donald Trump will once again become president of the greatest country in the world.”

In his speech Abbott touted Texas legislation that he signed to promote the Second Amendment, including allowing Texans to carry guns without a permit.

By law, Texas is a Second Amendment Sanctuary State, and its agencies and officials are barred from assisting in the implementation of federal gun-control policies.

“Now, more than ever, we must fight to protect our Second Amendment rights,” Abbott said.

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