In the latest addition to the pantheon of tough-guy gun-toting GOP grandstanding videos, Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) spoke up in defense of gun rights on Monday in a clip of him wielding two assault rifles—one of which was aimed at his own right foot.
“I have a message for the Biden administration,” Jackson, the former physician to President Donald Trump, said in his video shared on Twitter, which racked up over a million views in under 24 hours.
“If you’re thinking about taking our ARs, you can start here in Texas. On behalf of all the law-abiding gun owners in the state of Texas, I just want to say: come and get it.”
Captioning the video, Jackson added: “I will NEVER give up my firearms. I will NEVER surrender my AR-15. If Democrats want to push an insane gun-grab, they can COME AND TAKE IT!”
I will NEVER give up my firearms. I will NEVER surrender my AR-15. If Democrats want to push an insane gun-grab, they can COME AND TAKE IT! pic.twitter.com/Yw6QVFqLg6
— Ronny Jackson (@RonnyJacksonTX) July 17, 2022
His impassioned defense of assault rifles came on the same day that a damning report was published explaining what an assault rifle did to 19 children and two teachers in a school in his state in May. It was also the same day a rifle-wielding gunman shot three people dead in a food court in an Indiana mall.
Jackson’s video came ahead of a House vote this week on the first assault weapon ban in nearly three decades. If passed into law, the bill would limit the import and sale of semi-automatic weapons with certain “military features,” but it would not call for the confiscation of guns that enthusiasts already own.
Social media users reacted to Jackson’s show of force with both dismay and amusement, with some pointing out the dangerous way he was holding his rifles, at least one of which appeared to be loaded. This isn’t the first time the former Navy admiral has come in for ridicule.
Jackson joined the White House Medical Unit as a physician in 2006 and served under three presidents, but it was Trump who made him an ally and gave credence to Jackson’s political aspirations.
In 2018, Jackson curried favor with the then-president by using a press briefing to say Trump was in “excellent health,” praise his “incredibly good genes,” and make the ridiculous assertion that “if he had a healthier diet over the last 20 years, he might live to be 200 years old.”
Trump was so enamored with Jackson that he nominated the doctor to become Secretary of Veterans Affairs. But Jackson ultimately withdrew himself from consideration for the job after a slew of accusations of wrongdoing made against him came to light. Jackson was reportedly known among White House medical staff as the “candy man” for the way in which he would hand out powerful drugs to lawmakers “like candy.” A searing 2021 report from the Defense Department’s inspector general also concluded that Jackson had smelled of alcohol while at work and had “disparaged, belittled, bullied, and humiliated” his subordinates, including making sexual remarks about a junior female colleague. In response, Jackson said he’d been “the subject of a political hit job because I stood with President Trump.”
In May, the House select committee investigating the attack on the Capitol asked Jackson about messages exchanged between members of the far-right Oath Keepers. The texts said the group needed to protect Jackson because he had “critical data.” Jackson refused to take part in the congressional panel’s investigation, calling it “illegitimate” and a “ruthless crusade against President Trump and his allies.”
Jackson’s rifle-loving clip comes after ex-Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens released a Senate campaign video in which he wielded a shotgun, saying “We’re going RINO hunting,” referring to “Republicans in name only” who are despised by the hardcore MAGA right.