President Trump was in his element Friday afternoon addressing an annual National Rifle Association conference Friday in Dallas -- an event most recent sitting presidents have skipped, but one that Mr. Trump has embraced.
"Your Second Amendment rights are under siege," Mr. Trump said. "But they will never, ever be under siege as long as I am president."
The president bounced from topic to topic, addressing everything from the importance of arming teachers, to thanking music artist Kanye West for helping double his approval ratings among African-Americans. West has expressed his support for Mr. Trump in recent days, even sporting a "Make America Great Again" hat.
"Kanye West must have some power, because you probably saw, I doubled my African-American poll numbers. We went from 11 to 22 in one week, thank you, Kanye," the president said. "When I saw the numbers I said that must be a mistake, how did that happen?"
The president's address came at a time when the NRA faces intense opposition from advocates of more gun restrictions, after mass shootings like the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting that left 17 dead. The NRA's response has been to double down on promoting Second Amendment rights. According to the local CBS station in Dallas, the city prepared for protesters ahead of the speech.
Before Mr. Trump took office, the last sitting president to address the NRA was Ronald Reagan, in 1983. Mr. Trump has addressed the group multiple times. Mr. Trump has made a number of different and sometimes conflicting statements about the NRA. In the months since the Parkland shooting, Mr. Trump has called the NRA leadership "great people," but has also jabbed some GOP lawmakers as "petrified" of the NRA for for being unwilling to contradict the group on gun control issues. On Friday, Mr. Trump again praised the NRA leadership as "patriots" and good people.
Aboard Air force One Friday on his way to the speech, Mr. Trump said, "The NRA is a truly great organization that loves this country. And we have a record crowd. You probably heard, the people are lined for a long distance."
On Friday, Mr. Trump also addressed the importance of electing Republicans in 2018, saying having just 51 Republicans in the Senate is not really a majority. Mr. Trump even praised and offered his support for Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, with whom he has had disagreements in the past.
Follow below for details from the president's address earlier.