WASHINGTON — Tom Ridge, the Homeland Security secretary under President George W. Bush, has unexpectedly resigned from the board of Michael R. Bloomberg’s new gun control effort, citing his discomfort with some of the political work the group has been planning.
Ridge’s affiliation with the group, which Bloomberg has pledged to give at least $50 million this year alone, was considered a coup for Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, because of Ridge’s Republican credentials.
But Ridge has notified Bloomberg’s group, Everytown for Gun Safety, that he could not keep his commitment.
“When I signed on as an adviser to Everytown, I looked forward to a thoughtful and provocative discussion about the toll gun violence takes on Americans,” Ridge said through a spokesman. “After consultation with Everytown, I have decided that I am uncomfortable with their expected electoral work.”
Bloomberg said last week that he would work to defeat Republicans and Democrats alike who opposed gun control. He said his goal was to build a group formidable enough to take on the National Rifle Association.
Everytown said in a statement that it was disappointed by Ridge’s decision, which was first reported Friday by The Daily Caller.
“Our organization represents the views of the majority of Americans who support reasonable laws to keep families safe,” the group said. “When necessary, that will mean taking on the gun lobby in state capitols and at the ballot box.”
The group has started to aggressively take on the NRA, which is holding its annual meeting this weekend in Indianapolis. Everytown says it will send more than 100 mothers to picket the event. And it released an emotionally charged commercial in which victims of gun violence bear their wounds and denounce gun-rights proponents.