David Petraeus is reputed to be on President-elect Trump’s short list of candidates for the office of secretary of state, along with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. The Trump transition team has said that the list has been whittled down to just four names, but they have only confirmed Romney and Giuliani as being among them. Several other names have been floated, as numerous foreign-policy luminaries have been spotted coming and going from meetings with Trump, but who is a contender and who is merely advising on choices has not been clear.
Of significance to GunVoters is the fact that all three of the most prominently mentioned names, Giuliani, Romney and Petraeus, have gone on record in support of restrictions on firearms, with Petraeus being the most recent and perhaps the most egregious among them. Romney signed an “assault weapon” ban when he was governor of Massachusetts and made statements supporting various gun control proposals during his first run for president, but walked back those positions during his 2012 run for the presidency. As a U.S. attorney and later as the mayor of New York City, Giuliani was voraciously anti-gun, but has also backed away from the issue as he moved further into the Republican camp.
Petraeus has generally been silent about issues outside of his specific areas of expertise – international relations, military strategy and related economic issues – but he deviated from that rule this past June when he, along with former astronaut Mark Kelly and a handful of other retired, high-ranking officers, announced the formation of a new gun control advocacy group called the Veterans Coalition for Common Sense.
Kelly is the husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was seriously injured when a deranged leftist – who had passed a background check – shot her and several other people at a Tucson gathering in 2011. Giffords and Kelly subsequently formed a political action committee called Americans for Responsible Solutions, which advocates for and funds gun control efforts. They have collected and contributed millions of dollars to pro-gun control politicians – almost exclusively Democrats – and were ardent supporters of Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency.
All indications are that the very highly publicized new veterans group was actually nothing more than a publicity stunt to try and create the appearance of veteran support for “progressive” causes like gun control. Since the announcement, this “coalition” has not even established an Internet presence or created a Facebook page. In fact, a Google search of the name finds only references to the original announcement, a frustrated disclaimer from a long-established group with a similar name – Veterans for Common Sense – firmly denying any connection to the Veterans Coalition for Common Sense,and lamenting that Kelly, Petraeus and company chose such a similar name, and a spoof Facebook page established by some creative pro-rights advocate.
The parent organization, Americans for Responsible Solutions, might occasionally use the group’s name and list of military advisers for fundraising and lobbying purposes, but the lack of any any evidence that the group actually exists beyond its name and list of advisory board members strongly suggests that it was nothing more than a facade to allow a few prominent, left-leaning officers to throw a rock on the tracks of the Trump train and try to bolster the candidacy of Hillary Clinton.
The fact that David Petraeus would lend his name to such a political farce suggests that he is either incredibly naive, or a closet partisan. Either way, in spite of his education and experience, the poor judgment or political chicanery disqualify him from holding the office.
Rights advocates, led by Gun Owners of America, are actively petitioning the Trump transition team to remove Petraeus from the list of potential candidates and calling for their members and other groups to join the push. The Firearms Coalition is also opposing Romney and Giuliani due to their past positions and concrete actions in support of gun control.
While some might suggest that the office of secretary of state has little to do with domestic gun control issues, the global trade in guns and ammunition gives the State Department direct bearing on the rights of American gun owners. Along with issues like the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, which has already significantly impacted availability of surplus ammunition and many firearm replacement parts, the State Department also has jurisdiction over the re-importation of firearms that were sold or given to our allies, and oversees implementation and enforcement of the International Traffic in Arms Regulation, or ITAR, which has recently been used to threaten firearm designers and gunsmiths. For almost a decade, the State Department has been blocking the re-importation of thousands of highly collectible, World War II vintage guns that were sold or given to Korea back in the 1950s and ’60s.
Petraeus has a strong resumé, and arguments can be made in favor of his nomination, but right now those arguments are primarily being made by CNN and The Atlantic, whose recommendations are themselves pretty good arguments against him.
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