One person’s president is another person’s tyrant and tyranny, much like the meaning of the Second Amendment, is in the eye of the beholder. The question isn’t whether Donald Trump will have a bad week anymore, it’s more a question of how and to what extent: was he actually hinting that a President Hillary Clinton should be assassinated when he suggested that “Second Amendment people” could “do” something about her Supreme Court picks? Perhaps not. But it says a lot about the candidate that that’s where most people’s minds immediately turned when he said those comments, and it’s exactly why so many Republicans are having serious second thoughts.
Trump’s comments were (read: deliberately) vague – slightly threatening, but with just enough plausible deniability that he could say, of course I wasn’t suggesting assassination. Clinton supporters disagreed and immediately criticized Trump, saying that violence is never a joking matter. Plus FYI it’s illegal to make threats against presidential candidates or former first family members. Hence the US Secret Services’ call to the Trump campaign to ask, is he serious? But what really makes a lot of voters squirm is the thought that a President Trump’s controversial comments about say, nuclear war, would get misinterpreted to the same degree – and Russia and North Korea don’t have a Trumpian sense of humor.
Many supporters came forward this week to defend the comments, saying they were being twisted or that Trump was just joking. But whether you thought Trump was one step away from buying Clinton a ticket to Ford’s Theatre or was merely being sarcastic, thanks to his year-long stream of inflammatory tweets and his recent invitation to a foreign power to hack his opponent’s emails, when it comes to people leaping to conclusions Trump really only has himself to blame.
Feel that political assassinations are all just a big conspiracy? Movie for your mood: JFK