President Donald Trump unloaded on New York Attorney General Letitia James' action to go after the NRA Thursday – and suggested the gun-rights group move to Texas to find a home free of legal hassle.
'That’s a very terrible thing that just happened,' Trump said Thursday shortly after James made the high-profile announcement of her effort to dissolve the group and force it to jettison long-time head Wayne LaPierre.
'I think the NRA should move to Texas and lead a very good and beautiful life,' Trump said of the group, which has its headquarters in Richmond, Virginia not far from Washington, D.C.
'That’s a very terrible thing that just happened,' President Donald Trump said of New York Attorney General Letitia James' suit against the NRA
Trump also fired off a tweet trying to connect Jame's prosecutorial action, less than 100 days before the election, with his political rival Joe Biden.
'Just like Radical Left New York is trying to destroy the NRA, if Biden becomes President your GREAT SECOND AMENDMENT doesn’t have a chance,' Trump said, wrote. 'Your guns will be taken away, immediately and without notice. No police, no guns!' he added.
Trump also hammered Biden on guns in remarks in Ohio, where his original greet Gov. Mike DeWine had to cancel an appearance after testing positive for the coronavirus.
‘You will have a crash in the market, because he's going to double and triple your taxes. He's going to do things that nobody ever would ever think even possible because he's following the radical left agenda - take away your guns, destroy your second amendment, no religion, no anything, hurt the Bible, God, he's against God, he's against guns, he's against energy, our kind of energy,’ the president said.
The NRA is counter-suing the New York attorney general, claiming her bombshell lawsuit on Thursday that seeks to dismantle the gun organization is a 'premeditated' political attack that has been deliberately timed to thwart Trump's reelection chances.
The group endorsed Trump's reelection this year, and spent more than $30 million to support him in 2016. It spent less than half as much trying to defeat President Barack Obama and back Republican Mitt Romney in 2012.
The group announced Thursday it is planning another multi-million ad blitz before November.
Letitia James filed her lawsuit on Thursday. She claims that Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre, former Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Wilson 'Woody' Phillips, former Chief of Staff and the Executive Director of General Operations Joshua Powell, and Corporate Secretary and General Counsel John Frazer used the NRA as a 'personal piggy bank' for years.
She claims in her lawsuit that they used NRA funds to pay for 'trips for them and their families to the Bahamas, private jets, and expensive meals.'
She called the organization 'fraught with fraud and abuse.'
At a press conference on Thursday morning, James declined to comment on speculation surrounding her subpoena to Deutsche Bank for Donald Trump's bank records, which many thought was going to be the subject of the press conference.
She also insisted the lawsuit was not politically motivated and not that she was trying to financially cripple the organization which is one of Trump's biggest donors.
The NRA responded angrily.
'This was a baseless, premeditated attack on our organization and the Second Amendment freedoms it fights to defend.
'You could have set your watch by it: the investigation was going to reach its crescendo as we move into the 2020 election cycle. It's a transparent attempt to score political points and attack the leading voice in opposition to the leftist agenda.
'This has been a power grab by a political opportunist - a desperate move that is part of a rank political vendetta.
'Our members won't be intimidated or bullied in their defense of political and constitutional freedom. As evidenced by the lawsuit filed by the NRA today against the NY AG, we not only will not shrink from this fight - we will confront it and prevail.'
In 2016, the organization gave more than $30million to Trumps' campaign.
The NRA responded angrily with its own lawsuit, claiming James is unfairly targeting the organization because of its political affiliations
New York Attorney General Letitia James announced on Thursday that she was suing the NRA
President Trump with NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, the target of the lawsuit who she claims mismanaged funds for years to support his lavish lifestyle
NRA General Counsel John Frazer (L) and Director of Operations Joshua Powell (R) are also being sued
On Thursday, James said that an ongoing thread in her investigation was whether or not any mismanaged funds were used to donate to political campaigns. She is now aggressively seeking restitution from the NRA. She alleges that the fraud cost the organization $64million in losses.
Trump called James' lawsuit 'terrible' and told the NRA to 'move to Texas'. It is currently based in Virginia.
'That's a very terrible thing that just happened. I think the NRA should move to Texas and lead a very good and beautiful life.
'I've told them that for a long time. They should move to Texas or another state of their choosing but Texas would be a great place an an appropriate place for the NRA.
'They've been absolutely decimated by the cost of that lawsuit and it's very sad but I would suggest they move to Texas,' he said on the White House lawn before boarding Marine One.
He later tweeted: 'Just like Radical Left New York is trying to destroy the NRA, if Biden becomes President your GREAT SECOND AMENDMENT doesn’t have a chance. Your guns will be taken away, immediately and without notice. No police, no guns!'
At her press conference, James said the organization had gone 'unchecked' for decades.
'The NRA’s influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets,' she said.
'The NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse, which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law.'
'There is one set of laws. Today, we send a loud message that no one is above the law - not even the NRA, one of the most powerful organizations in this country,' she said.
James is insisting that the organization be dissolved and not restructured because, she claims, the alleged fraud is so 'broad'.
The lawsuit claims that Wayne LaPierre hired his friends in the 1990s and then used NRA funds - which had been donated by supporters - to pay for a luxury lifestyle.
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo was among Democrats who endorsed the move
'Yacht trips in the Bahamas, private jets, gifts, black car services and lucrative consulting contracts for ex-employees and board members' are among the things she claims he spent the money on.
LaPierre approved private jet flights on the company dollar for his family members, including his niece's husband, the lawsuit claims.
Among them was a private flight for his niece and her husband from Dallas, Texas, to North Platte, Nebraska that cost $11,435.
Later, he authorized a flight for his niece and her daughter from Dallas to Orlando for $26,995.
In October 2016, he approved a flight for his wife to go alone from Wisconsin to Nebraskafor $8,800 and in January 2017, he authorized a flight for his niece's husband from Nebraska to Las Vegas for a Safari Club convention.
His reasons for them included that it was difficult to find commercial flights to parts of Nebraska, and that his niece sometimes had a young child with her, the lawsuit claims.
It also alleges that he himself spent company donations on yachting trips to the Bahamas.
'Since June 2015, LaPierre and his family took private flights to and from the Bahamas on at least eight occasions.
'On most of those trips, LaPierre stopped in Nebraska on each leg of the trip to pick up and drop off his niece and her family.
'The NRA paid over half a million dollars for these flights,' the lawsuit alleges.
LaPierre claimed he was going to the Bahamas for a 'celebrity retreat' that was run by 'an individual' who is the major stakeholder in Associated Television Inc, Membership Marketing Partners, Allegiance Creative Group, Concord Social and Public Relations.
The lawsuit claims the NRA gave $100million to those companies, and LaPierre worked with them to produce projects like Crime Strike, a TV show he was the host of. The lawsuit has inflamed partisan tensions.
Democrats say welcomed it, claiming it was high time the NRA be brought to action.
Among those who praised it was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
He tweeted: 'The NRA has a long history of thwarting New York’s not-for-profit rules. Today the NY AG took action to curb that abuse.'