Trump says US withdrawing from arms trade treaty


President Donald Trump speaks to the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association, Friday, April 26, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump said the U.S. has decided to withdraw its support for a treaty regulating the multibillion-dollar global arms trade. It’s the latest example of the Trump administration’s dislike of international pacts.

President Trump said Friday that he has decided to revoke the United States’ status as a signatory of the Arms Trade Treaty regulating international trade in conventional weapons, including small arms, battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships.

He says America is “rejecting this treaty” and “taking our signature back.”

He made the announcement during a speech in Indianapolis to the National Rifle Association, which claims the treaty poses a threat to the Second Amendment. The U.S. signed the treaty in 2013, but never ratified it.

This was the third year in the row that President Trump spoke at the gun rights group’s annual convention.

During his speech, he also said gun owners should get ready to vote for Republicans, and that his political opponents “want to take away your guns.”

“You better get out there and vote,” he said.

President Trump also took the opportunity to bring up the Mueller Report, saying his political enemies “tried for a coup, didn’t work out so well. And I didn’t need a gun for that one, did I?’

The friendly audience applauded the quip, but Trump wasn’t done. He said he’s seen “corruption at the highest levels. A disgrace. Spying. Surveillance trying for an overthrow.”

Mueller’s probe found no evidence that Trump and his campaign colluded with the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election. But his report contained details about Trump’s efforts to shut down the investigation, fire Mueller and lie. Some Democrats say there’s ample evidence of obstruction of justice.

Attorney General William Barr said he did not believe the evidence was sufficient to prove that Trump had obstructed justice, but he noted that Mueller’s team did not exonerate the president.

Vice President Mike Pence also addressed convention-goers, promising that under the current administration, “no one is taking your guns.”

The line got a rousing applause from the crowd.

The NRA spent millions of dollars to help elect Trump in 2016, but had a much lower profile during the 2018 midterms. It’s unclear how visible the NRA will be in 2020 after a series of mass shootings that has hardened public sentiment against gun violence.

President Trump disagrees with those who say the NRA is getting weaker. He recently tweeted that the NRA is “getting stronger & stronger and doing some really great and important work.”

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