People For the American Way

PFAW Criticizes Ted Cruz for Speaking with Far-Right Gun Owners of America

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 21, 2015

Contact: Laura Epstein or Layne Amerikaner at People For the American Way

Email: media@pfaw.org

Phone Number: 202-467-4999

Other: Array

Gun Owners of America, the radical gun group that bills itself as far to the right of the NRA, announced in an email to its members yesterday that it will be holding a series of “tele-town hall meetings” with Republican presidential candidates in order to vet the candidates on their gun-law orthodoxy. The “first of several” calls, to be held next week, will feature Sen. Ted Cruz, a favorite of GOA’s executive director Larry Pratt.

In response, People For the American Way President Michael Keegan released the following statement:

“Pandering to Larry Pratt – who believes President Obama is trying to ‘commandeer the military’ and agrees that Obama is ‘definitely capable of something as evil’ as leading black Americans to massacre white Americans – is beyond the pale, even for Ted Cruz.

“No one who aspires to be president of the United States should be willing to dignify the violent, bigoted record of someone like Larry Pratt.  Cruz should pull out of this event immediately, and we’ll be paying close attention to see if other GOP candidates join these tele-town halls to appeal to the most extreme elements of their party’s base.”

Background on Gun Owners of America Executive Director Larry Pratt:

History with radical militia movement

  • Was forced to step down from a position on Pat Buchanan’s 1996 presidential campaign when it came to light that he had spoken at a militia event featuring a number of neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic activists. Was influential in the formation of the militia movement in the 1990s.
  • Told a far-right group shortly after the Oklahoma City bombing that whoever had taken on the government “beast” in Oklahoma knew that the couldn’t “rely on the Lord to take vengeance.”

Assassination threats

Anti-Obama conspiracy theories

Race-baiting

  • Mused that “the African from Africa” is generally “a very happy person” and could therefore “approach some of their fellow blacks” in America to teach them to exhibit less “surliness.”
  • Claimed that Baltimore wouldn’t have any problems if armed citizens had simply shot rioters dead.

For more information about Larry Pratt, read the full blog post from PFAW’s Right Wing Watch here.

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