Multiple Republican presidential contenders will descend on Indianapolis, Indiana, to speak at the National Rifle Association‘s annual convention on Friday, a testament to the power Second Amendment activists still have on the GOP.
Former President Donald Trump will speak to the activists in person, his first public appearance after he was arraigned in a Manhattan court last week after being indicted on charges of a 2016 hush money payment to a porn star. Former Vice President Mike Pence will also attend in person. This will likely be the first time the two are in the same room after leaving the White House weeks after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
While Trump has already declared a presidential run, Pence has not, but he could jump into the 2024 race in the next few months. Trump and Pence are both set to speak Friday afternoon during the event’s “Leadership Forum.”
Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, also running for president, will speak to the attendees via video, as will Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), both potential 2024 candidates. Scott announced a 2024 exploratory committee this week, while DeSantis continues to poll higher than all other 2024 contenders except for Trump. DeSantis, though, has not yet announced a presidential bid.
Other attendees with 2024 aspirations include former Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR), entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD), and Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH).
The NRA convention’s three-day Leadership Forum lasts from April 14 through April 16 and is being held just days after a mass shooting left five people dead and eight injured in Louisville, Kentucky, and mere weeks after another mass shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, at Covenant School, a private Christian institution, left six people dead.
As the nation’s most influential gun rights group, the NRA still holds considerable sway over the Republican Party. The NRA endorsed Trump during his first presidential run in 2016 and spent more than $54 million supporting Republicans in 2016, according to the watchdog group Open Secrets.
But in recent years, the NRA has been referenced in national conversations about mass shootings. The group’s convention last year was held in the aftermath of the Uvalde school shooting in Texas, where a gunman killed 19 elementary school students and two teachers.
Following the NRA convention, several of the high-profile attendees, including Trump, will head to Nashville for the Republican National Committee’s donor retreat.
Original Location: 2024 GOP presidential hopefuls head to Indianapolis for NRA convention
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