In his opening remarks at the NRA's presidential forum in Harrisburg, Trump confidently declared, "Not gonna happen."
This appearance comes as the Republican presidential nominating campaign shifts its focus to South Carolina, where the upcoming GOP primary on February 27 may be Nikki Haley's last opportunity to impede Trump's path to the nomination.
Fresh off a dominant victory in the Nevada caucuses and capitalizing on a challenging day for President Joe Biden, Trump traveled to Pennsylvania to address the National Rifle Association at the Great American Outdoor Show. His support for gun rights, a key priority for GOP voters, will be highlighted during the forum. Following this, the former President will head to South Carolina for campaign events alongside Haley, who is hoping for a strong performance in her home state to keep her in the race through Super Tuesday on March 5.
Trump is optimistic that a resounding victory in the first-in-the-South race will deal a devastating blow to Haley, who has yet to win a GOP contest. Despite her persistence, Trump expressed surprise at Haley's decision to continue and remarked that it may be detrimental to both her and the party. In Nevada, where Haley chose not to participate, Trump faced no competition and emerged as the clear winner, leaving Haley in a distant second place behind the "none of these candidates" option chosen by GOP voters.
This week has been particularly fortuitous for Trump. The Supreme Court appeared skeptical of attempts to exclude him from the 2024 ballot under the Constitution's Insurrection Clause. Additionally, special counsel Robert Hur released a highly critical report that, while not recommending criminal charges against President Biden, raised concerns about his retention and sharing of highly classified information as a private citizen. The report also highlighted Biden's hazy memory, which has become a top concern for voters regarding his competency and age.
Trump's speech at the NRA event marks his eighth appearance before the group. However, his influence in this election cycle has diminished due to financial difficulties, declining membership, and internal conflicts within the NRA. Wayne LaPierre, the organization's longtime CEO, resigned last month ahead of a trial in New York over allegations of lavish personal expenditures at the expense of the powerful gun rights organization. The NRA filed for bankruptcy and attempted to relocate to Texas, but their move was rejected by a judge in New York.