The genie is out of the bottle. Elvis has left the building. And Donald Trump did indeed say, multiple times, that the Orlando massacre would have been stopped sooner if only the clubgoers had brought guns.
With even the National Rifle Association officials saying it defied “common sense” to mix firearms and drinking, Trump woke up Monday morning and tweeted a revisionist version of his comments at 6:24 a.m.
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“When I said that if, within the Orlando club, you had some people with guns, I was obviously talking about additional guards or employees.” (One armed guard did exchange gunfire with the killer.)More coverageThe 1600: Follow the race for the next presidentMore coverageThe 2016 campaign: Complete coverage
Trump’s belated interpretation of his comments was light years from obvious to anyone who read, listened to or heard about the remarks, including NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and chief lobbyist Chris Cox, who are both well versed in the nuances of firearms policy and whose organization has endorsed Trump.
Here’s what Trump said:
“It’s too bad some of the people killed over the weekend didn’t have guns attached to their hips, where bullets could have thrown in the opposite direction. Had people been able to fire back, it would have been a much different outcome,” Trump said on Boston’s Howie Carr radio show June 13.
Last Friday, to a crowd in Houston, Trump said this:
“If we had people with bullets going the opposite direction right smack between the eyes of this maniac — if some of those wonderful people had guns strapped right here, right to their waist or right to their ankle, and this son of a bitch comes out and starts shooting — and one of the people in that room happened to have it and goes ‘boom, boom,’ you know what, that would have been a beautiful, beautiful sight, folks.”
The comments were consistent with those Trump has made after previous mass shooting incidents, such as the terror attacks last November and December in Paris and San Bernardino, California.
“If you look at Paris, they didn’t have guns, and they were slaughtered. If you look at what happened in California, they didn’t have guns, and they were slaughtered,” Trump told reporters Dec. 5. “I think it would’ve been a lot better if they had guns in that room, somebody could protect.”
He said the same in a speech to an NRA conference on May 20.
“If we had guns on the other side, it wouldn’t have been that way. I would have — boom,” Trump said.