The Unholy Trinity of Donald Trump, Steve Bannon And Wayne LaPierre

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President Donald Trump attends a meeting next to Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association at the Roosevelt room of the White House in Washington, February 1. Carlos Barria/Reuters

The unholy trinity. At the right hand of Trump sitteth the minister of propaganda, Steve Bannon. At the left hand sitteth National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, whose $30 million donation to the Trump campaign bought him a seat next to the throne. A year ago I opined that Trump had Hitleresque qualities. Some thought that sentiment might be a tad over the top. However, this troika has the look and the menace of 1930s Germany and is picking up steam with each passing day. 

With the blessing from on high, Bannon is ramping up his efforts to undermine the First Amendment, control the media and feed the American people only what he wants them to know. He now has a powerful ally in LaPierre, leader of the NRA, who has gone even further off the deep end. Apocalyptic rhetoric, attacks on the media other than Fox News and the usual bogus claims that Democrats and “libtards” are out to confiscate Americans’ guns are standard fare for LaPierre.     

His normal (for him) rhetoric has been ratcheted up to what is now a dangerous call to action. In Wayne’s world, recent town hall meetings are overrun with violent, young, paid demonstrators. In fact, while it is true that the audiences have been vocal, they consisted of constituents who were in large part middle-aged men and women and a lot of grandmas—people who run the risk of immediately feeling the devastating effects of the “deconstruction” of the government.

But these people weren’t paid or violent. They were like the nearly one million women who marched in D.C. the day after the inauguration, merely trying to hold their elected officials accountable. LaPierre’s rant included the “left-wing” judiciary, but now as the self-proclaimed leader of the “counter resistance” his main target is Americans who protest Trump. 

The NRA has effectively built a paranoid citizen army equipped with highly lethal weapons. I’ve had personal experience with their intimidation tactics. And now, the NRA is in a position of power, acting in concert with minister of propaganda Bannon as a steady hand on the shoulder of a volatile, pliable leader. I see a day in the near future where this troika unleashes their knuckle-dragging militia at a town hall meeting to intimidate and provoke. It’s only a matter of time, and we can only hope it doesn’t lead to tragedy. 

One of my favorite pieces of nonsense was parroted by Wayne’s disciple, has-been musician Ted Nugent, who opined last week in his absurd argument for the AR-15 that owning one was “a God-given individual right guaranteed under our sacred Second Amendment.” Unless we missed an epic event where God appeared to Thomas Jefferson as he was writing the Constitution, Jefferson wrote that the rights endowed by our creator were to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—not to guns. 

White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon is holding his old boss's feet to the fire on guns. Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Make no mistake. Bannon and LaPierre run this country. Trump is just a puppet who craves adulation—and that makes him all the more dangerous. When congressional Republicans voted to allow the mentally ill access to firearms, it confirmed they have sold their souls to the NRA. And now the NRA isn’t just content to wage war against the phantom threat to the Second Amendment. With Bannon’s guidance, they’re threatening our First Amendment rights. It’s time for true patriots on the right to join the rest of us and stop this dangerous assault on democracy before it’s too late.

Andy Parker is the father of Virginia journalist Alison Parker, who was fatally shot on live TV in August 2015.