The National Rifle Association of America endorsed Donald Trump for president on Friday, shortly before the presumptive Republican nominee spoke at the group’s annual conference.
“If your preferred candidate dropped out of the race, it’s time to get over it,” said Chris Cox, NRA Institute for Legislative Action executive director.
When Trump took the stage, he claimed not to have known the group was planning to endorse him.
“To get the endorsement, believe me, is a fantastic honor,” he said.
Trump then turned to the general election, saying that “the second amendment is on the ballot in November,” and declaring Hillary Clinton the “most anti-gun” candidate ever to run for president. He called on Clinton to release her own list of potential Supreme Court nominees, as he did this week, and said her list and his would be “day and night” in terms of views on gun rights.
About Clinton’s statement that she would, if necessary, use executive action to expand background checks, Trump said, “This is the behavior you could say of a dictator. This is the behavior I think frankly of somebody who doesn’t know what she’s doing.”
Trump also used the venue to make a pitch to a demographic group he struggles with: women. “My poll numbers with men are through the roof. But I want women,” he said, talking about the importance of women being able to carry guns to defend themselves. “I like women more than men,” he continued. “Come on women, let’s go.”
Trump’s position on gun control has been inconsistent. In 2000, he said he supported a ban on assault weapons and a longer waiting period to purchase a gun, but during his campaign, he has been a vocal proponent of Second Amendment rights and has said he will end gun-free zones.