Al Hoffman, a top GOP donor with a history of criticizing fellow Republicans for perceived intransigence, blasted the party's position on gun control in an interview with the Palm Beach Post on Tuesday.
"I believe the Republican Party faces irrelevancy if we as a party don’t gain a little rational nexus as far as gun control is concerned. I personally believe President Obama is right on the issue of gun control," he said, clarifying that he considered himself a "conservative Republican."
"We really ought to follow what the American public wants and there’s a clear consensus that they’re in favor of stricter gun control," he said.
Hoffman also extended his criticism to top gun rights advocates, claiming that the nation has been "terrorized by the NRA and [its CEO] Wayne LaPierre" in the contentious debate over gun violence that has emerged since the December massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. According to Hoffman, continued Republican resistance to gun control measures would provide Obama and Democrats with fodder to help defeat GOP lawmakers in the next election cycle.
Hoffman served as national co-chairman for former President George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns and eventually supported GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the 2012 election cycle. He needled Republicans during the debt ceiling debate in 2011, when he wrote an op-ed for The New York Times asking lawmakers to "embrace the principle of compromise" and "open the door to tax increases" as part of a grand bargain.
While Hoffman's comments are likely to rub many Republicans the wrong way, they underscore a broader point about how the general populace views some of the more viable gun control provisions currently up for debate in Congress. As the Senate prepares to consider a compromise bill this week to expand the current background check system for gun purchases, recent polling by HuffPost/YouGov found that with a 90 percent approval rate, such screening procedures are more popular than apple pie, baseball and kittens.