The Latest: Trump says NRA ‘loves this country’

The Latest: Trump says NRA 'loves this country'
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association (all times local):

1:35 p.m.

President Donald Trump has arrived in Dallas, where he will speak to the annual gathering of the National Rifle Association.

A longtime supporter of the NRA, Trump said during the flight Friday that it was a “truly great organization.”

Trump is visiting the group after he temporarily strayed from its strong anti-gun control message in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, only to later return to the fold.

This marks Trump’s fourth visit to the annual meeting. Last year he became the first sitting president to address the convention in decades.

The president will be joined at the NRA event by Vice President Mike Pence.

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12:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the National Rifle Association is a “great organization that loves this country.”

Trump spoke to reporters Friday aboard Air Force One as he flew to Dallas to address the organization’s annual convention for the fourth consecutive time.

More than 70,000 NRA members are expected to attend. The event is also drawing protests, including by those who lost loved ones to gun violence.

Trump’s appearance comes after he temporarily strayed from NRA dogma opposing stronger gun control after the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, earlier this year — only to return to the fold.

Trump also said he has a “record crowd” attending the convention.

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1:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump is set to address the National Rifle Association just two months after declaring that he would stand up to the powerful gun lobby following a deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

He later backpedaled on that tough talk.

On Friday, Trump will speak to the NRA in Dallas as the issue of gun violence takes on new urgency after one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.

During a televised meeting with lawmakers in late February, two weeks after the Parkland shooting, Trump wagged his finger at a Republican senator and scolded him for being “afraid of the NRA,” saying he would get results in quelling gun violence.

But Trump later expressed support for only modest changes to the background check system and proposed arming teachers.

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