President Donald Trump criticized elephant hunting as a “horror show” in a new tweet suggesting that he plans to reverse his administration's recent decision to lift a 2014 ban on big-game trophy hunting in Zimbabwe and Zambia

By Tierney McAfee
November 20, 2017 05:35 PM
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President Trump Delivers Remarks In The Diplomatic Room Of The White House
Credit: WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 15: US President Donald Trump speaks about his 12-day trip to Asia, fair trade, and the economy, at the White House on November 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump criticized elephant hunting as a “horror show” in a new tweet suggesting that he plans to reverse his administration’s recent decision to lift a 2014 ban on big-game trophy hunting in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

After first announcing the move last Wednesday, Trump faced extreme backlash from politicians, environmentalists and elephant lovers — including accusations that the decision was motivated by his sons Eric and Donald Jr., who are both avid hunters.

Amid the criticism, Trump hinted at a reversal in a tweet Sunday night.

“Big-game trophy decision will be announced next week but will be very hard pressed to change my mind that this horror show in any way helps conservation of Elephants or any other animal,” he said.

The tweet followed another from Friday in which the president announced that he was putting the decision on hold so he could review the policy.

The apparent reversal will uphold an Obama-era rule banning hunters from importing trophies of elephants they killed in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

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Though the president’s turnaround came largely as a surprise, The Washington Post noted a 2012 Twitter exchange between Trump and singer Cher that shed light on his personal distaste for hunting.

After Cher tweeted a Gothamist story that included photos of Trump’s two elder sons posing with elephants and other animals they killed while hunting, Trump responded: “Old story, one of which I publicly disapproved.”

“My sons love hunting, I don’t,” he added.

He echoed those comments in a 2012 interview with TMZ, saying: “My sons love hunting. They’re hunters and they’ve become good at it. I am not a believer in hunting and I’m surprised they like it.”

The images of Trump’s sons proudly posing with big-game trophies also reemerged to criticism during his 2016 campaign.

After Trump’s Sunday tweet, however, many applauded him for taking a “humane stand.”

But others criticized him for his decision to lift the ban in the first place.

And conservative pundit Bill Cristol expressed concern that Trump might still do away with the trophy ban if he isn’t showered with adequate praise for his reversal.

Referencing Trump’s recent complaint that he didn’t get enough appreciation for helping three UCLA basketball players return to the U.S. following shoplifting charges in China, Kristol wrote: “Some elephants had better personally express gratitude to Donald Trump, otherwise the trophy ban is history.”