At a rally in North Carolina yesterday, potential President Donald J. TinyHands made a perfectly innocent little remark that maybe sounded a bit like he was suggesting gun enthusiasts murder Hillary Clinton. Naturally, even hinting about assassinating a presidential candidate can rile up the "desperate media," but Trump's best puppet Rudy Giuliani has stepped up to defend him, arguing that if Trump wanted people to shoot Hillary he would have blatantly urged them to do it. Which is... what he just did. Giuliani's point seems to be that yesterday's death threat was actually too subtle. End of discussion. Benghazi! 9/11!
To recap, at yesterday's rally, Trump told the crowd that if Hillary got elected she'd be coming for their guns. "If she gets to pick her judges—nothing you can do folks," he said, adding, "Although the 2nd Amendment people maybe there is, I don't know." Trump claims he was suggesting these so-called 2nd Amendment people use their "power of unification" to vote, but since he was actually referring to a future in which Clinton is already elected, most people with powers of logic and comprehension took this to be an ever-so-slightly coded death threat. From the looks of things, Trump's supporters saw it the same way:
Watch the guy seated behind Trump react as he says it. Appears to say "whoa" or "wow." https://t.co/5iZCS9ybVV
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) August 9, 2016
But the former Mayor of 9/11 Town and current Mayor of Loud Red-Faced Screaming told Good Morning America today that President Toupee couldn't possibly have been threatening Hillary's life because he'd much prefer to do that outright than hint at it. “We know that Donald Trump is not particularly indirect,” he said. “If Donald Trump was going to say something like that, he’d say something like that.” And you get the sense Giuliani wouldn't really have a problem with that.
Though Trump certainly has been direct about, for instance, how he thinks Mexican immigrants are rapists and that Rosie O'Donnell has a " fat, ugly face," he's known for these winking, superficially ambiguous statements. There is, for instance, the time he was being "sarcastic," about suggesting Russia hack into Clinton's emails. Then there was the time during the primaries when he suggested there could be "riots" if he weren't the official GOP candidate post-convention. There was also the time he said he was "not going to take" using nuclear weapons against Europe "off the table." Trump didn't outright say he was super excited to get all these shiny blasty deathy weapons at his disposal, but one could easily surmise that's where his very good brain was at at the time.
Giuliani, who bumped his head in the shower last week, might have forgotten about all this, but it only half-matters at this point if Trump's just being an ol' jokester or is actually trying to incite violence against Clinton. The thing about being president is that it's not okay to lose your shit over, say, a foreign dignitary forgetting to provide extra ketchup with your Quarter Pounder, and joke with the American public that you'd like to "Quarter-pound him." This is a hypothetical, yet totally plausible situation that could unfold, should Trump inexplicably be anointed Leader of the Free World, and it's easy to see how it might lead to some regrettable misunderstandings.
More importantly, as Thomas Friedman pointed out today, people in the audience or watching television at home who hate Hillary, love rifles, and worship Trump fully understand that not-so-sly wink from their Great Leader. The big message came through—"She's coming for your guns, and maybe there's something you can do about it." Friedman likened the incident to the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in the 1990s—Rabin's right-wing opponents, including current PM Benjamin Netanyahu, basked in their supporters' shouts that Rabin was a "traitor" and a "Nazi" for wanting peace with the Palestinians, and eventually one shot and killed him:
Mr. Netanyahu, now prime minister, insisted he never saw the posters or heard the curses.
I am sure that is what Trump’s supporters will say, too. But Trump knows what he is doing, and it is so dangerous in today’s world. In the last year we have seen a spate of lone-wolf acts of terrorism in America and Europe by men and women living on the fringes of society, some with petty criminal records, often with psychological problems, often described as “loners,” and almost always deeply immersed in fringe jihadist social networks that heat them up. They hear the signal in the noise. They hear the inspiration and the permission to do God’s work. They are not cooled by unfinished sentences.
If Trump wins this election, our leader will be a man with no sense of decency or respect for human life. If Trump loses this election, he's dredged up a lot of riled up, angry, racist people who appear to have been told that a good way to stop the President of the United States is to shoot her, and, hell, she deserves it:
No matter what happens on election day, we're in trouble.