Elephant trophy hunting, and Trump’s confusing positions on it, explained

Exposing the Big Game

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Here’s a seemingly simple question: Is it legal to bring elephant body parts collected in hunting exhibitions in Africa back to the United States?

During the Obama administration, the answer became a clear “no” — the import of elephant trophies was banned outright under the Endangered Species Act. But in November, President Trump’s US Fish and Wildlife Service announced it was set to lift the ban. Hunting groups like the National Rifle Association and the Safari Club International Foundation, which had opposed the ban, were thrilled by the news.

But after a flood of criticism (including from conservatives), Trump himself suddenly was not.

In a tweet, Trump announced that the lifting of the ban was on hold, pending further review. In a follow-up tweet, he went on to say he’d “be very hard pressed to change my mind that…

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