This feature appears in the March ‘17 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.
This is how a foreign power interferes in another sovereign nation’s election:
A foreign government funds a private organization, which uses the money to sway an election in another country. It builds voter databases, organizes phone banks and places negative advertising. It sends local political activists back to the foreign power for training in get-out-the-vote tactics. It even hires the same political consultants used by the meddling government’s leadership.
The year was 2015, the targeted country was Israel, and the meddling foreign power was the United States. The effort to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu was supported by a $350,000 grant from President Barack Obama’s State Department to the Washington, D.C.-based OneVoice Movement, which hired a political consulting group that worked on both of Obama’s presidential campaigns to bring down Israel’s sitting prime minister.
The determination by a bipartisan U.S. Senate subcommittee, that the Obama administration tried to sabotage Netanyahu’s re-election, makes Obama’s outcry over supposed Russian hacking of our own presidential election shockingly hypocritical.
Yet the same Obama who ridiculed Trump for claiming the election could be rigged now wants Trump to sanction Russia for supposedly interfering in the election. This “interference” apparently amounted to no more than the release of embarrassing Democratic operative emails on previously revealed controversies. Still, Obama feigned outrage even though, as Andrew McCarthy of National Review noted, “The Russians did to Democrats exactly what the media does to Republicans—they subjected one side to intense scrutiny while giving the other side a pass.” If that was a crime, The New York Times would have been indicted long ago.
So why trump up this non-scandal? Obama might be looking for a scapegoat for his party’s loss, but it’s more plausible that it’s part of an ongoing effort to cast doubt on the credibility of Trump’s victory. Even more troubling, this effort to delegitimize the new president is part of a far larger effort that has been attempting to delay, distract and ultimately derail the Trump presidency since before he even took office.
Toward that end, Obama left behind a rat’s nest for Trump to untangle—troubled international relationships, emboldened, guarantees—for our children, our grandchildren and future generations. global adversaries, overreaching regulations and last-minute executive actions.
Obama created an international firestorm by allowing a U.N. vote to condemn our staunchest Middle Eastern ally, Israel. As with Russia, he left the task of dealing with the consequences of his “courageous” actions to incoming President Trump as he was moving out. In a final confusing nod to the U.N., he forwarded its dormant-but-still-smoldering Arms Trade Treaty to the Senate.
In his final weeks, Obama also stepped up his rate of issuing executive actions (through November, he had already issued 242 more of these than his predecessor, George W. Bush).
He designated two new national monuments in Utah and Nevada, locking up 1.65 million acres under federal control. His refusal to consult with state leaders virtually guaranteed a legislative battle to repeal this land grab; his insistence that no subsequent president could reverse him foreshadowed a protracted legal battle if they did.
In another last-minute federal grab, he banned oil production in hundreds of millions of acres in the Arctic and Atlantic, again claiming his actions to be irreversible and begging for another protracted legal battle. Though this is like daring a bully to take his best shot as your mom drives you away from the schoolyard, undoing them could have the practical effect of tying up portions of the Trump administration for months—or years. “The Russians did to Democrats exactly what the media does to Republicans—they subjected one side to intense scrutiny while giving the other side a pass.”
Frustrated with his failure to shut down Guantanamo Bay, Obama stepped up the release of detainees to countries with little capacity or desire to monitor them. Several of them have returned to jihad; four claim responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. Whatever havoc they wreak will be shouldered by—and most assuredly blamed on—President Trump.
Obama also released criminals from prison at a record rate, some of whom were imprisoned for gun crimes. There is no way to square this with his failure to use federal law to slow the runaway homicide rate in his adopted hometown of Chicago, which he has also left for Trump to resolve.
Obama has powerful allies in his efforts to deny Trump credibility. In Congress, Senate minority leader Charles Schumer has promised to oppose any Trump nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, telling MSNBC that he can’t imagine Trump nominating anyone “mainstream.” He flatly promised to do everything in his power to hold the seat open. If he can unite Senate Democrats behind this obstruction, seating a replacement for the late Antonin Scalia could occupy the Senate for months.
Senate Dems also seek to hamstring any of Trump’s cabinet nominees in tough confirmation hearings. If they succeed, say, in smearing Jeff Sessions, the nominee for attorney general, they could delay the naming of the nation’s top law enforcement officer for weeks, if not months—putting all of Trump’s efforts to restore the rule of law on hold.
The obstruction isn’t limited to Capitol Hill. Beleaguered Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has promised to defy Trump on immigration, vowing to continue his city’s “sanctuary” status. He was joined by mayors in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Seattle; Boston; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Oakland; Providence; Santa Fe; and Denver. Going one step further, Democrat legislative leaders of California have retained the services of former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder in anticipation of opposing Trump on immigration, the environment and criminal justice issues.
Outside of politics, there is little doubt that Trump’s opponents will file a conflict-of-interest complaint the minute a foreign diplomat plays a round on one of his golf courses, or attends a happy hour in one of his hotel bars. The progressive organization Common Cause is already gathering signatures on a petition to impeach Trump unless he sells all his 500 businesses and places them in a blind trust, which would seem redundant.
The press constantly reminds us that Trump lost the popular vote—a meaningless but useful fact meant to further delegitimize his victory. They’re joined by coastal urban elites who wage a war of words against the supposedly outdated electoral college. A flanking action to eliminate it could further paralyze the administration.
The entertainment industry’s posturing over diversity is a shameful attempt to marginalize Trump. So-called “stars” lecture us with Internet videos, on awards broadcasts and even from the stage of “Hamilton.” Ironically, these privileged few pretend to be persecuted in order to justify tweeting #NotMyPresident from their seaside coffee shops.
Taken together, the campaign to sabotage Trump is enough to make one long for the days when the departing Clinton staffers just pried the W’s off the computer keyboards before George W. Bush moved in.
“Already, the forces that conspired to keep Donald Trump out of the White House are coming together to sabotage his administration,” said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. “And they will spend whatever it takes to cripple his plans and inflict their revenge.”
Entangling the incoming Trump administration could delay, or dash, all hopes of restoring or advancing firearm freedoms anytime soon.
By itself, substantial delay in replacing the late Justice Scalia with a Second Amendment-supporting justice would have enormous consequences. Appeals of anti-gun decisions could be delayed, oppressive lower court rulings could be allowed to stand and Obama’s 329 judicial appointees could be emboldened to further deny the right to keep and bear arms.
The future of any effort to rein in renegade states such as California, New Jersey and Connecticut would be cloudy at best. In addition, those same states will fight the enactment of national Right-to-Carry reciprocity, which would remove capricious restrictions on the right of self-defense at state lines. After all, California did not retain Holder to collect overdue parking fines.
The rollback of bureaucratic tyranny—such as the denial of Second Amendment-protected rights to some veterans and Social Security benefit recipients by the Veterans Administration and the Social Security Administration (see page 36)—would have to wait for another day. The progressive organization Common Cause is already gathering signatures on a petition to impeach Trump unless he sells all his 500 businesses and places them in a blind trust, which would seem redundant.
NRA members and other gun owners made extraordinary efforts to defeat a candidate who made the restriction of their rights a primary thrust of her campaign. In doing so, they not only averted likely disaster, they kicked open the gates of opportunity for the health and advancement of Second Amendment rights, electing the most openly firearm-friendly president of our time.
However, instead of enjoying a well-earned respite, the campaign to undercut Trump means that we will instead be called upon to confirm that accomplishment in the coming months. Though the fires of freedom have been stoked, the train could yet run off the tracks.
“Our time is now,” said LaPierre. “This is our historic moment to go on offense and restore American greatness. And with your help, we can return law and order to our borders and inner cities, eliminate once and for all the absolute fallacy of gun-free zones, finally ensure every American’s right to carry a firearm in defense of their families and themselves doesn’t end at any state line, and put a pro-Second Amendment majority on the Supreme Court that will defend individual freedom for generations to come.
“Donald Trump will need every ounce of energy we can muster, and he has no more powerful ally than the NRA. Join us. Fight by our side. We will never waver, and we will never back down.”
Clay Turner has been the creative director for every issue of America’s 1st Freedom magazine, an official journal of the NRA, as well as the associated Second Amendment news website, Americas1stFreedom.org. When not writing and designing for those, Clay leads the design team for each year’s NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits. In between, he races sports cars and shoots just enough competitions to maintain his A rating with the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA).