WASHINGTON WATCH: NRA, GOP: Unindicted co-conspirators

Trump even went so far as to suggest the president, whose religion and nationality Trump has challenged in the past, might sympathize with the terrorists.

June 15, 2016 19:39
4 minute read.
orlando florida

People gather for a candlelight vigil during a memorial service for the victims of the shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, June 13, 2016. (photo credit: REUTERS)

If the National Rifle Association and its Republican acolytes were unmoved by the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school massacre of small children, don’t expect any more than crocodile tears over the mass murder of at least 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando Sunday morning.

Can you imagine the GOP-led Congress, with its dismal record on gay rights, doing anything to help protect the LGBT community or failing to do the bidding of the NRA? Once again, the victims of a gun atrocity will have died in vain, just as the children at Newtown did, because those like the GOP and NRA put their love of guns above their love of human life. That won’t go down well with the many Jewish groups that have for years made reasonable, responsible gun control a domestic priority.

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Even more appalling was Donald Trump’s claim that President Barack Obama should “resign in disgrace” because he won’t echo the Merchant of Hate’s term “radical Islamic terrorism.”

Trump even went so far as to suggest the president, whose religion and nationality Trump has challenged in the past, might sympathize with the terrorists.

While Obama, Hillary Clinton and most others focused on the tragedy as an anti-LGBT hate crime, most Republican leaders ignored that in favor of some foreign conspiracy.

Trump, who has made Muslim bashing a central theme of his campaign, responded to the shooting with a self-congratulatory “I told you so,” suggested his anti-immigration approach would have prevented the Orlando attack. “I called it and asked for the ban,” he tweeted.

Donald, in case you haven’t noticed, the killer was born in New York, just like you.

Once again, Trump was wildly out of step with the mainstream Jewish community. Religious, cultural and political leaders across the Jewish spectrum condemned the hate crime, speaking of the need for greater tolerance and fewer guns.

Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, in separate statements, condemned the incident, specifically noting what the prime minister called “the heinous attack last night on the LGBT community.”

Trump sought to exploit the tragedy for his own political gain, and most leading Republicans seemed content to go along – perhaps out of guilt over their hostility toward the LGBT community – and try to shift the blame to foreign threats.

Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to Washington and onetime academic who now specializes in right-wing sloganizing, said if the motive for the killing was hatred for the LGBT community, it would benefit Clinton, but he advised Trump to “emphasize the Muslim name [of the terrorist], Omar Saddiqui Mateen,” because it would “benefit” his campaign if it is “clear that the motive is Islamist-jihadist.”

The Orlando shooter, according to what is known at this point, was a lone wolf who pledged his loyalty to Islamic State (ISIS) just before starting his rampage. ISIS later claimed credit for the incident but the FBI has said it has found no evidence so far that it was directed by the Islamist terrorist organization.

Trump, a recent convert to NRA extremism, declared that the tragedy justifies his call for “toughness & vigilance” in fighting Islamic terrorism; he can be expected to oppose any effort to ban assault rifles or improve gun safety.

Republican leaders like Speaker Paul Ryan, senators Mitch McConnell, John McCain and Marco Rubio and former speakers Newt Gingrich and John Boehner concede Trump is a racist, but they are saying – in effect – that Trump is our racist and we’re going hard to work to get him elected.

In one more dive into the extremist muck, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick tweeted a biblical passage, “reap what you sow,” following the mass murders at a gay club, in effect blaming the victims.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) sent his “heartfelt prayers” to the Orlando victims but don’t expect more from the man who has received $136,639 from the NRA’s Political Action Committee over the years to block all gun safety legislation, according to Public Campaign, a non-profit proponent of campaign finance reform.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-Kentucky), who decides what legislation makes it to the floor and which dies, has received $1,262,189 from the NRA since 1989, according to Mic.com. He’s one of nine senators who together have received more than $22 million from the NRA in their careers. By sheer coincidence all are leading opponents of all legislation to prevent gun violence, and all are Republicans.

Of the 50 senators who voted against gun background checks last December, 48, all Republicans, were recipients of more than $27m. in NRA money; the lone Democrat, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and lone Republican, Rand Paul of Kentucky, got no NRA money, according to Reverbpress.com.

As long as the NRA and its supplicants in Congress block efforts to ban assault rifles like the AR-15 and high-capacity ammunition magazines like those used in Orlando, Sandy Hook, Aurora and San Bernardino, there will be more mass murders and the death toll will continue to climb at its current alarming pace.

A GOP that preaches about the “right to life” of the unborn shows an alarming contempt for the right to life of 350 million living Americans.

Instead, they genuflect to the gun lobby and march behind the “Make American Hate Again” banner of a presumptive GOP presidential nominee who is temperamentally unsuited for the high office he seeks.

©2016 Douglas M. Bloomfield bloomfieldcolumn@gmail.com.

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