NRA Headquarters
NRA Headquarters / Stephen Gutowski

Trump Jr Interested in Running NRA, Board Member Says

As the NRA searches for new leadership in the wake of Wayne LaPierre’s resignation, one board member suggests a big-name replacement: Donald Trump Jr.

After longtime leader Wayne LaPierre announced his resignation, Bill Bachenberg emailed his fellow NRA board members to suggest fixes for some of the group’s problems. One of those problems is who could fill LaPierre’s shoes. Bachenberg, a prominent Pennsylvania Trump supporter who has been accused of trying to fabricate evidence Joe Biden stole the 2020 election and helped arrange a Trump 2024 rally earlier this month, told the other board member’s Trump’s eldest son has previously expressed interest in a leadership role at the NRA. He offered to pitch Jr. on stepping into LaPierre’s place.

“A couple of years back Don Trump Jr contacted me if NRA was looking for a National Spokesperson, he saw the need,” Bachenberg wrote in a February 26th email obtained by The Reload. “He did preface, ‘I don’t want to deal with any of the operational bullshit.’ I’m not sure what he would say today, but when the time is right I can ask him if he might be interested if requested by the board.”

The Trump takeover suggestion comes as the beleaguered gun-rights group struggles to determine a path forward after years of fighting financial corruption allegations culminated in LaPierre quitting just before a New York jury found the NRA failed to safeguard its charitable asserts and the former leader is liable for millions in damages. The group is now searching for new leadership even as the sentencing phase of that trial and the possibility the court could appoint financial and operations monitors hang over it. The chaos and court fight, which the NRA has decried as politically motivated, have led to a huge decline in membership.

However, it hasn’t broken the close relationship between the group and former president Trump, who spoke at the NRA’s outdoor show in January.

The NRA has enjoyed a strong bond with the former president ever since it was the first significant group to back his successful 2016 presidential bid. Trump’s sons, who are avid hunters and gun collectors, were instrumental in creating that connection. Trump Jr. has attended many NRA events and worked closely with Chris Cox, who headed the NRA’s lobbying arm during most of the Trump presidency.

It’s unclear if Trump Jr. is still interested in replacing LaPierre as NRA Executive Vice President (EVP) and CEO, though. Andrew Surbian, his spokesman, did not respond to a request for comment.

Trump Jr. also formed his own competing gun-rights group called the Second Amendment Task Force in 2022. However, that group doesn’t appear to have any operations in 2024. The group’s website claims it is a 501(c)4 non-profit, but it doesn’t list any tax filings on its website. It lists Trump Jr. as its chairman and the only member of its team. The donate link on its website redirects to a WinRed page, a popular fundraising platform among Republicans, but it only contains a thank you message and no longer accepts donations.

The judge in the NRA’s case might also have reservations about allowing him to run the organization since he was part of the settlement that dissolved the Trump Foundation. Under that agreement, Trump Jr. was ordered to repay the foundation for a $10,000 portrait of his father and take classes on the duties of officers and directors of charities in New York. Although, that settlement doesn’t bar him from serving in non-profit leadership positions.

Bachenberg’s email, which features a series of reform suggestions in addition to the idea of bringing in Trump Jr., got a boost from former NRA President Marion Hammer, who appears to have forwarded it along to her contacts. Hammer, a prominent Florida gun-rights lobbyist and key LaPierre ally for decades, appears to have fallen out of favor with current NRA leadership. In an email first obtained by writer John Richardson, Hammer claims that recently appointed top NRA lobbyist Randy Kozuch cut off grants to her longtime state affiliate Unified Sportsmen of Florida without explanation in November.

“He didn’t fire me, he just quit paying me,” she wrote in an email to NRA board members on Monday. “That leaves me totally without employment or retirement income.”

The NRA did not respond to a request for comment on Hammer’s claims.

Cutting off Hammer seems to be part of the internal maneuvering as people jockey for control of the still-massive gun group. Multiple sources familiar with discussions on the board told The Reload they don’t expect interim EVP and CEO Andrew Arrulanandam to last long. Outside of Trump Jr., current NRA President Charles Cotton is the front-runner to take over the role permanently. However, former NRA Deputy Executive Director Wade Callender has racked up endorsements for the job from several Republican Attorneys General, including Texas’s Ken Paxton.

The fight for control will heat up on Saturday as members of the EVP search committee converge on Atlanta, Georgia, for a meeting, according to an email former congressman and search committe chairman Bob Barr sent to NRA board members. He invited those board members to make the trip but also noted that the NRA would not pay for their trips.

“Board members are invited to attend a scheduled meeting of the EVP Search Committee on Saturday, April 27, 2024, beginning at 9:00 AM EDT,” Barr said in an April 1st email obtained by The Reload. “This meeting will be held at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Atlanta Airport Hotel located at 4700 Southport Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30337. Board members who attend will be provided a reasonable opportunity to make a presentation and engage in dialogue with Committee members.”

The NRA did not respond to questions on why board members have to pay their own way to the meeting, whether it is open to regular NRA members, or if the press can attend.

Bachenberg ended his email to fellow board members by warning that the group is “sitting on the edge of a razor blade” and in danger of “disappear[ing] altogether if we do not act with sound business solutions and practices.”

“The free world is watching, we can’t let our members, America’s gun owners and manufacturers down at this critical time,” he said. “LET’S GET THIS RIGHT, the stakes are too high and there will be no second chance.”

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019


Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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