NRA head 'bristled' at group's 2016 endorsement of Trump: report
© Getty Images

A court filing from the National Rifle Association's (NRA) former public relations agency said NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre "bristled" at the lobbying group's early 2016 endorsement of then-candidate Donald Trump.

LaPierre reportedly has referred to the president's administration as the "Trump slump," according to a filing from the company's former PR agency Ackerman McQueen, The Washington Post reported.

ADVERTISEMENT

LaPierre has had a good public relationship with Trump since he took office, and the president has turned to the NRA chief when contemplating gun reform and for financial support for the next election.

But Ackerman McQueen alleges that LaPierre did not always support Trump, saying that he was upset the NRA chose to endorse him in May 2016, earlier than when the lobbying group usually advocates for a presidential candidate.

“LaPierre bristled at the thought of openly supporting Trump so early,” the Post reported the firm’s court filing said. “He continued his cynicism regarding Trump during the entire presidential election, noting on multiple occasions that he didn’t believe Trump could win.”

The filing also asserts that LaPierre was not open about the relationships between NRA officials and Russia, saying an Ackerman McQueen contractor was "stonewalled" after attempting to look into it. 

“NRA officials even implied that they were more concerned with hiding the facts of the investigation instead of bringing the entire story to light in order to fix any issues that existed,” the Post reported the filing said.

William Brewer III, an attorney for the NRA, said in a statement obtained by the Post that the filing was “fraught with false and misleading information.”

“In the ultimate act of desperation, Ackerman attempts to discredit Mr. LaPierre’s support of President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Democrats sharpen their message on impeachment MORE,” Brewer said. “Mr. LaPierre’s support of the president is well-known — as an advocate, fundraiser and partner in the fight to protect our constitutional freedoms.”  

Andrew Arulanandam, the NRA's managing director of public affairs, told The Hill the PR's company's assertions are "false, baffling and typical of this failing company."

He added "nobody at the NRA" has been as consistent an ally of Trump as LaPierre, and the chief executive was the reason the NRA backed Trump's campaign earlier than usual.

“This is just another forgettable chapter in a smear campaign against the NRA," Arulanandam said in a statement.

Ackerman McQueen deferred to the NRA for comment "about its endorsements."

The Hill reached out to the White House for comment.