In an unexpectedly lively exchange on Fox News Sunday this morning, host Chris Wallace took on NRA head Wayne LaPierre for his group’s tasteless ad that called Obama an “elitist hypocrite” for having Secret Service protection for his daughters while opposing the placement of armed guards in every American school. “It wasn’t picking on the president’s kids,” LaPierre argued, somewhat futilely. “The president’s kids are safe and we’re all thankful for it.” When Wallace pointed out that “[Malia and Sasha] also face a threat that most people do not face,” LaPierre shot back: “Tell that to the people in Newtown!” But Wallace wasn’t buying the indignation. “Do you really think that the president’s children are the same kind of target as every schoolchild in America?” Wallace asked LaPierre, adding, “I think that’s ridiculous, and you know it, sir.”
Wallace then asked LaPierre, who showed up to the Fox News studio with armed guards, whether he counted as “an out-of-touch elite, because you have security.” LaPierre skirted the issue, explaining that,”We’ve had all kinds of threats coming to us. I don’t deny anybody the right to security when they need it. What I am saying is, it’s ridiculous, Chris, for all the elites and all the powerful and privileged, the titans of industry to send their kids to schools where there is armed security, to have access to semi-automatic technology.”
Finally, when questioned about the NRA’s about-face on universal background checks, LaPierre blamed the medical establishment’s opposition to including the mentally ill in any checks. “It’s a fraud to call it universal,” he said. “The criminals are never going to comply with it. They could care less.” But instead of leaving it there, LaPierre felt the need to push his answer into the realm of anti-government paranoia. “I think what they’ll do is they’ll turn this universal [background] check on the law-abiding into a universal registry on law-abiding people.” And you know what happens next.