Trump Says New York Officials Trying to ‘Destroy’ NRA

April 29, 2019 Updated: April 29, 2019

President Donald Trump said on April 29 that New York state officials are trying to “destroy” the National Rifle Association (NRA), after the state’s top Democrats opened an investigation into the organization last week.

The state’s attorney general, Letitia James, said on April 27 that her office has begun a probe related to the NRA and that she has issued subpoenas as part of the investigation. Reports indicate that the probe relates to the group’s tax-exempt status. James’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.

Trump, via Twitter, accused both James and Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of breaking the law in order to dismantle the NRA. It comes as the gun rights group faces internal divisions—retired Lt. Col. Oliver North, the NRA’s president, said recently he wouldn’t be seeking another term after he lost support from the organization’s leadership.

“The NRA is under siege by Cuomo and the New York State A.G., who are illegally using the State’s legal apparatus to take down and destroy this very important organization, & others,” Trump said on Twitter on April 29.

“It must get its act together quickly, stop the internal fighting, & get back to GREATNESS – FAST!”

North said recently he was forced to step down as president because of his allegations that NRA leaders engaged in financial improprieties.

His departure came after NRA Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre accused North of trying to oust him by threatening to release “damaging” information about him, according to a letter from LaPierre to NRA board members that was published by the Wall Street Journal on April 26. The NRA board met on April 29 to debate its next steps, according to media reports.

The NRA didn’t respond to a request for comment on the investigation.

The president also suggested on Twitter that the NRA should leave the state altogether. He brought up the large numbers of people leaving the state because of high taxes.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James holds a press conference at the Office of the Attorney General, on March 28, 2019. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

According to tax burden data from WalletHub, New York has the highest tax burden by state, with a total of 12.97 percent total tax burden. WalletHub calculated the results by comparing states across three tax burden types—property taxes, individual income taxes and sales, and excise taxes—as a share of total personal income in the state.

“People are fleeing New York State because of high taxes and yes, even oppression of sorts. They didn’t even put up a fight against SALT – could have won,” he said on Twitter. “So much litigation. The NRA should leave and fight from the outside of this very difficult to deal with (unfair) State!”

On April 26, Trump used the NRA annual meeting in Indianapolis to announce he was pulling the United States out of an international arms treaty signed in 2013 by President Barack Obama that was opposed by the NRA and conservative groups.

“The United Nations will soon receive a formal notice that America is rejecting this treaty,” said Trump during his speech to the NRA attendees. He signed the executive order on the podium.

President Trump announces U.S. withdrawal from the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty
President Trump holds up an executive order he signed at an NRA event on April 26, announcing that the United States will drop out of an international arms trade treaty that was signed during the Obama administration. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Reuters contributed to this report.

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