President Donald Trump said elephant hunting is a “horror show” in a tweet that suggests he plans to reverse his administration’s recent decision to lift a 2014 ban on big-game trophy hunting in Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Trump faced a media assault from politicians, environmentalists and elephant lovers, many of whom claiming the decision was motivated by his sons Eric and Donald Jr., who are both big game hunters.
Amidst the media firestorm, Trump hinted that he would reverse the lifting of the ban in a tweet. “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.”
The turnaround will uphold an Obama-era rule banning hunters from importing trophies of elephants they killed in Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Although the president’s reversal came largely as a surprise, The Washington Post noted a 2012 Twitter exchange between Trump and Cher, which revealed his personal distaste for hunting.
After Cher tweeted a 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 feelings 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.”