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Trump reassures commitment to protect Second Amendment rights

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Washington, May 5: US President Donald Trump addressed the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual convention where he reassured his commitment to protect gun owners’ Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms, media reports said.

“Thanks to your activism and dedication, you have an administration fighting to protect your Second Amendment and we will protect your Second Amendment,” CNN quoted Trump as saying to a pumped-up crowd on Friday in a Dallas arena.

“Your Second Amendment rights are under siege, but they will never ever be under siege as long as I am your President.”

His message in front of the adoring crowd was a stark departure from the defiant tone he took toward the NRA in the immediate aftermath of the February 14 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people, when he embraced tougher gun restrictions and proudly boasted that the powerful gun lobby has “less power over me” than over Republican lawmakers, reports The Washington Post.

On Friday, Trump in a 45-minute speech allied himself with some of the gun group’s biggest priorities.

“The people in this hall have never taken our freedom (for) granted. Never,” Trump said. “And you have never stopped fighting for our beloved Constitution. Incredible people.”

Trump endorsed a top NRA goal to allow trained teachers to carry concealed weapons and to install more armed security guards in schools.

Signs declaring a school a gun-free zone, Trump argued, were essentially invitations to attackers to “come in and take us”.

“They love their students and they’re not going to let anybody hurt their students. But you have to give them a chance,” Trump said.

“In America, we trust the people to be wise and good… That is why in America, we’ve always trusted the people to keep and bear arms.”

This is the fourth year in a row that Trump has addressed the NRA, which has been a powerful ally from the earliest days of his presidential campaign, The Washington Post reported.

But Friday’s speech was his first appearance before NRA members since the Parkland shooting, which created a new wave of momentum for the gun-control movement nationwide led by the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School themselves.

Trump also denounced European cities with tougher gun laws, invoking the November 2015 massacre in Paris to make a case that “if one employee or just one patron had a gun”, the citywide attack could have been stopped.

Meanwhile, gun owners at the annual meeting said they were relieved to have Trump in the White House, reports CNN.

“Our gun rights are in danger, but I do think that Trump is on our side,” a Texas resident clad in an NRA hat, said.

“I think some of that is reacting to the pressure of the moment. He gets a lot of input from the people around him. And that’s one of the things I like about him — he listens to a lot of ideas. And I think that came into play and things are settling down,” another resident said.

An intensive care unit nurse thinks Trump can play an important role because, she says, the organisation has been unfairly vilified in the wake of mass shootings.

“I’m excited for his support of the Second Amendment, and his staunch support of the NRA, even through all this craziness that’s been going on and the vilification of the NRA that’s been going on,” she said.

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A vote to confirm Barrett “is a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act”: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

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Chuck Schumer
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said President Trump’s decision to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court has put “Americans’ healthcare in the crosshairs.”

“The American people should make no mistake — a vote by any Senator for Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act and eliminate protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions,” Schumer wrote in a statement.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, unabated by this Administration, healthcare was already the number one issue on the ballot in November. President Trump has promised to nominate Supreme Court Justices who will “terminate” our health care law and decimate the health care system for American Indians and Alaska Natives. In Judge Barrett, President Trump has found the deciding vote.”

The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments just after the November election in a case about the Affordable Care Act. Senate Republicans have indicated they may vote to confirm Barrett before Election Day — meaning she could be seated on the bench for that case.

In an early 2017 law review essay, reviewing a book related to the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, Barrett criticized Chief Justice John Roberts’ rationale that saved the law in 2012.

“Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute,” Barrett wrote. “He construed the penalty imposed on those without health insurance as a tax, which permitted him to sustain the statute as a valid exercise of the taxing power.”

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Biden urges US Senate not to confirm Supreme Court nominee before election

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Vice President Joe Biden

Joe Biden released a statement reacting to Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination and focused on health care and protecting the Affordable Care Act.

“Today, President Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the successor to Justice Ginsburg’s seat. She has a written track record of disagreeing with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act. She critiqued Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion upholding the law in 2012,” Biden said.

He added that the Senate should not act on the vacancy until after the American people select their next president.

Senate Republicans have outlined a possible confirmation hearing for Barrett that could have her confirmed before Election Day.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments just after the election in a case about the Affordable Care Act. The case is brought by a coalition of Republican state attorneys general and the Trump administration, who argue the law’s individual mandate is unconstitutional, and the entire law must fall.

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Trump nominates conservative Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court

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Amy Coney Barrett

President Donald Trump on Saturday said he is nominating Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative federal appeals court judge, to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the US Supreme Court.

Calling it a “very proud moment indeed,” Trump called Barrett a woman of “towering intellect” and “unyielding loyalty to the Constitution.”
Barrett, Trump said, is “one of our nation’s most brilliant and gifted legal minds.”

Trump thanks members of the senate for their commitment to ensuring a “fair and timely” confirmation of Barrett’s place on the supreme court. He urges Democrats and the press not to question Barrett on personal grounds, no doubt a reference to the difficulties his last nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, encountered.

The crowd applaud as the president, all smiles, takes the stage.

He says he is here to fulfill one of “my highest and most important duties” as president. He pays tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg who he describes as a “giant” of the American legal system. He then says he is nominating Amy Coney Barrett to replace her. Trump says Barrett is “brilliant” and has a “towering intellect”.

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