A year after calling President Obama a “subhuman mongrel” at the gun industry's trade show, National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent revisited the comment, claiming it was “probably much too delicate” before describing his rationale for using the term in an interview with Guns.com.
Nugent faced widespread criticism in 2014 after telling Guns.com at the 2014 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show, “I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod, if not shame enough Americans to be ever vigilant not to let a Chicago communist raised communist educated communist nurtured subhuman mongrel like the ACORN community organizer gangster Barack Hussein Obama to weasel his way into the top office of authority in the United States of America.”
Fallout from the “subhuman mongrel” comment proved damaging for the high-profile member of NRA leadership. In February 2014, Nugent's mere appearance at a campaign event with then Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott caused a national media controversy. His appearance drew condemnation even from top Republicans. The following summer, several of Nugent's concerts were canceled by organizers who cited past comments made by Nugent. Music industry experts have suggested that Nugent's inflammatory rhetoric may hurt his ability to book concerts.
Nugent returned to the SHOT show this year, once again appearing as a representative of Outdoor Channel, where he is a spokesman and host. Outdoor Channel is one of the top sponsors of SHOT Show, which is hosted annually by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
Speaking to Guns.com, Nugent described his “subhuman mongrel” comment as “precious” and “probably much too delicate.” In remarks that echoed the NRA's anti-federal law enforcement commentary of the 1990s, Nugent also said his “subhuman mongrel” phrase was inspired by “jackbooted thuggery” committed by “out of control government agents.”
Nugent first said that he uses the term to oppose what he perceives as rampant abuses by the federal government. Referencing the gas chambers of Nazi Germany, Nugent explained, “I think if a person creates an environment where sheeple can be led to gas chambers, I don't think the term subhuman mongrel is too outrageous”:
NUGENT: I think if a person creates an environment where sheeple can be led to gas chambers, I don't think the term subhuman mongrel is too outrageous. I don't know if there is any English term, or any term available to mankind to adequately describe the depth of evil to a human who would deny good from winning over evil and with the insanity of our government, the insanity and the abuse of power, the runaway corruption deceit and dishonesty coming out of Barack Obama and Eric Holder and Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and the left, they really believe that they can take our tax dollars and hire machine gun-toting security guards while dictating unarmed helplessness to their employers. Can you think of a word that could be offensive enough to describe someone who takes your money to hire security people while passing laws denying you the right to be secure? So subhuman mongrel was probably much too delicate.
Nugent also gave a second rationale for his use of the phrase, arguing that he used the term after hearing about “jackbooted thuggery” by government agents shooting innocent people and “ranches and farms being shut down because of trumped up allegations”:
NUGENT: You don't have to use, you know, nasty terms like subhuman mongrel because I suppose you could have just called them liars and haters, but I was dealing with victims, I had been bombarded with evidence and testimonials from victims of jackbooted thuggery, homes that were broken into because some jackboot got the wrong address, people being shot, innocent people being shot by out of control government agents, ranches and farms being shut down because of trumped up allegations.
Nugent's references to jackboots -- a term commonly associated with Nazism or fascism -- echoes an infamous 1995 NRA fundraising letter signed by CEO and executive vice president Wayne LaPierre.
In that letter, the NRA wrote, “If you have a badge, you have the government's go-ahead to harass, intimidate, even murder law-abiding citizens,” and referenced “jack-booted government thugs [who have] more power to take away our constitutional rights, break in our doors, seize our guns, destroy our property, and even injure or kill us.” LaPierre first defended the letter before eventually offering an apology. The content of the letter caused former President George H.W. Bush to resign from the NRA.