May 7 (UPI) — Retired Lt. Col. Oliver North is leaving his role as a Fox News television host to become the new president of the National Rifle Association, the organization said Monday.
Wayne LaPierre, CEO and vice president of the NRA, said North was the “best choice” to lead the NRA board.
“Oliver North is a true hero and warrior for freedom,” LaPierre said. “And NRA members are proud to stand with him.”
“I am honored to have been selected by the NRA Board to soon serve as this great organization’s President,” North said in a statement. “I appreciate the board initiating a process that affords me a few weeks to set my affairs in order, and I am eager to hit the ground running as the new NRA President.”
North is expected to become president within a few weeks and will retire from his position at Fox News immediately.
The announcement comes after the NRA”s annual meeting in Dallas over the weekend set an attendance record.
“Thank you to all 87,154 attendees who came to [National Rifle Association Annual Meeting] in Dallas!” the NRA tweeted. “Together, we set a new record! We can’t wait to do it again next year!”
Both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the annual meeting.
Trump urged his supporters to vote in the 2018 mid-term elections, and predicted Republicans would do well.
“Don’t be complacent. Don’t be complacent,” Trump he told the crowd at Dallas’ Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. “History says that when you win the presidency, you get complacent. You know the feeling? … Like 90 percent of the time you win the presidency and for whatever reason you lose the midterm. We can’t let that happen. And the word is complacent.”
Trump also promised to protect the Second Amendment, vowing to the crowd that their rights would “never, ever be under siege as long as” he was president.
Protesters gathered at the convention center and called for stronger gun control. Next year, the group’s convention will be held in Indianapolis.
Trump’s comments came a few months after the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. After the attack, the president at one point called out lawmakers for not going far enough in a proposed gun safety bill.
“You know why?” Trump said. “Because you’re afraid of the National Rifle Association. Some of you people are petrified of the NRA.”