MSNBC's Heilemann Slams 'Giant Scam' NRA, 'Cowardice' of Congress

Appearing as a panel member on Tuesday's Deadline: White House, MSNBC national affairs analyst John Heilemann griped about the National Rifle Association as he accused the gun rights group of acting like a "giant scam" by competing for money with other groups that are "crazier" than they are. He further complained about what he viewed as "cowardice" by members of Congress for not opposing the conservative group.



At 4:38 p.m. ET, Heilemann began his analysis by lamenting:

I despair on this issue almost more than I despair on any other issue that we talk about just because, you know, the political -- everyone in Washington which is a place consumed by fear and self-protection and "How do I keep my sinecure in the House and the Senate?"

After recalling that members of Congress lost reelection in 1994 after voting for gun control legislation, the MSNBC analyst added:

It's just the ultimate portrait in cowardice on the part of people in Congress. And I think that, you know, Trump's behavior in this respect and his succor to the NRA is craven and not based on anything but the notion that the main thing that he's excited about in his political life is that he got elected President, and, you know, that's his great accomplishment, and somebody -- anybody who helped him do that -- he is going to be loyal to them forever.

A bit later, he recalled that there are other gun rights groups accusing the NRA of not being conservative enough:

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There was a moment when we had a discussion about how there were gun rights groups that were going to stake out a place further to the right than the NRA, and the NRA might actually -- in the face of Newtown in particular -- maybe the NRA would start to -- we had the discussion on bump stocks as Philip (Bump) said -- you know, maybe the NRA would soften up on a couple of things, and that would start to crumble.

Heilemann then further derided the NRA:

But instead what's happened is there's a competition now for money. It's a giant scam, and so the NRA looks at groups to its right and says, "They're taking away our funding base -- we have to get as far to the right as the crazier groups than we are."  And so that's why you have such an insidious cycle because a lot of this is not about principle or policy. It's just about money.

MSNBC contributor Elise Jordan then chimed in:

It incentivizes going as extreme as you possibly can because then if you have to give away something that you don't really need in the first place -- like bump stocks -- you really haven't conceded that much ground.

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CyberAlerts Congress Crime Guns MSNBC Deadline: White House Video NRA Elise Jordan John Heilemann Donald Trump