“Your Second Amendment rights are under siege,” Donald Trump told NRA members on Friday, “but they will never, ever be under siege as long as I’m your president.”
That, of course, didn’t make a lick of sense, since the second half of the sentence contradicted the first. But it was that kind of appearance for the president in Dallas.
Later in the speech, Trump said, “It seems that, if we’re going to outlaw guns, like so many people want to do … we are going to have to outlaw, immediately, all vans and all trucks, which are now the new form of death for the maniac terrorists.” What the president may not realize is that vans and trucks are heavily regulated; their operators are tested and licensed; there are extensive ownership and registration records; and van and truck owners are required to purchase insurance.
Or put another way, perhaps Trump hasn’t thought through this analogy.
But perhaps the most newsworthy element of the president’s remarks came when he reflected on conditions in London and Paris.
“Paris, France has the toughest gun laws in the world. The president just left Washington – Emmanuel, great guy – nobody has guns in Paris, nobody.
“And we all remember more than 130 people, plus tremendous numbers of people that were horribly, horribly wounded … they died in a restaurant and various other close-proximity places. They were brutally killed by a small group of terrorists that had guns. They took their time and gunned them down one by one – boom, come over here, boom, come over here, boom. If you were in those rooms, one of those people – and the survivors said it just lasted forever.
“But, if one employee or just one patron had a gun, or if one person in this room had been there with a gun, aimed at the opposite direction, the terrorists would have fled or been shot. And it would have been a whole different story. I mean, right?”
As for the British capital, Trump argued that London has “unbelievably tough gun laws,” but they have hospitals that are like “war zones for horrible stabbing wounds.” He added, “They don’t have guns. They have knives. And, instead, there’s blood all over the floors of this hospital. They say it’s as bad as a military war-zone hospital. Knives, knives, knives.”
As a Slate piece explained, France wasn’t pleased: “France expresses its firm disapproval of the comments by President Trump about the attacks of 13 November 2015 in Paris and asks for the memory of the victims to be respected,’ foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll said. Francois Hollande, who was French president at the time of the attacks, took to Twitter to call Trump’s remarks ‘shameful’ and ‘obscene.’ Manuel Valls, who was prime minister during the attack, kept his Twitter comment short: ‘Indecent and incompetent. What more can I say?’”
In London, meanwhile, British officials quickly responded that Trump is misguided.
Stabbings in the British capital have been on the increase this year. But Labour Party lawmaker Sarah Jones tweeted at Trump, “U.K. knife crime nowhere near your off-the-scale gun deaths.”
The surgeon who made the “war zone” remark, Dr. Martin Griffiths or Royal London Hospital, didn’t endorse Trump’s comments, either. He tweeted that he’s “happy to invite Mr. Trump” to visit his hospital, meet with London’s mayor and talk to the city’s chief of police about the reality of violence there.
I’ve lost count of how many times Trump has sparked British backlashes with his antics. The American president’s trip to London is scheduled for July, and if Trump is expecting a warm welcome, he should start lowering his expectations.