The NRA Has a New President – They Couldn’t Have Made a Worse Choice
Oliver North is coming to the NRA’s rescue
In the face of controversy over its responses to years of mass shootings, the National Rifle Association has chosen to up the ante by replacing its President, Pete Brownell, with controversial former Reagan Administration official Oliver North.
In a public statement, Executive Vice President and spokesperson Wayne LaPierre praised the move:
“Oliver North is a legendary warrior for American freedom, a gifted communicator and skilled leader. In these times, I can think of no one better suited to serve as our President.”
LaPierre’s reference to “these times” is most likely a jab at the rise in pro-gun control advocacy, primarily brought about survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting, who founded “Never Again MSD.” The kids have been the subject of intense hatred and slander from right-wing individuals and groups, and inane pushback from the likes of Rick Santorum, Laura Ingraham, and of course the NRA itself.
Related: Watch NRA Crowd Greet Ted Cruz With ‘Rousing’ Chorus Of Boos After Trump’s ‘Full Endorsement’
However, the real problem lies with the selection of North. North, who served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps, is infamous for his role in the Iran-Contra scandal, where senior members of the Reagan White House in the 1980s secretly funded the Contra rebels in Nicaragua by selling weapons to Iran.
Both actions were illegal as Contra funding was cut-off by Congress through the Boland Amendment, while Iran was under an arms embargo. The Contra rebels themselves gained global scrutiny for their horrific war crimes and cocaine trafficking in the area.
While President Reagan’s involvement in the affair remains disputed by historians, North’s role was clear as day. He not only devised parts of the plan, but also had his secretary, Fawn Hall, destroy documents related to the negotiations. He was charged on three felony accounts, but these were ultimately reversed after getting appealed.
Like other disgraced Republicans such as Sarah Palin, North found work on Fox News, but plans to leave the network to serve as President of the NRA. While top members of the organization like Dana Loesch and Brownell himself have praised his appointment, it is clear from the outside that the NRA only plans to double down on it’s anti-gun control initiatives.
But the choice of North as President of the NRA is a symbolic one. The NRA could not have chosen a person more symbolic of gun running, and right wing politics, including the kind of corrupt, dirty tricks, illegal dealing the Iran Contra affair epitomized, than Oliver North. This choice says, loud and clear, that the NRA is in the pocket of the arms industry, and the Republican party. Perhaps in that sense, the choice is a fitting one. But it will only hurt the NRA in the long term.
Image by Holtocw/Wikimedia Commons
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