Continuing his habit ad libitum remarks, in a speech at a rally in Wilmington, NC on the 9th of August, Donald Trump stated that if Hillary Clinton is elected president, she will appoint justices to the Supreme Court who will undermine the Constitution’s protection of gun rights. He added that there would be nothing the people could do about that—with the exception of the Second Amendment people.
And then came the outrage in the media, social and otherwise. Trump has been accused of calling for the assassination of Clinton, while he and his supporters counter that he only meant that supporters of gun rights have to unify against the candidacy of the Democratic nominee. This has become the standard call and response of the Trump campaign, but as always, what was actually said and meant gets lost.
Trump’s rambling delivery invites that sort of reaction. His exact words are open to whatever interpretation the listener wants to bring to them:
Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick… if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don’t know. But, but I’ll tell you what. That will be a horrible day. If, if Hillary gets to put her judges—right now, we’re tied. You see what’s going on. You see what’s going on. We tied because with Scalia—this was not suppose to happen. Justice Scalia was going to be around for ten more years at least, and this is what happens. That was a horrible thing.
He goes on to say that judges have important work to do on the Second Amendment and that criminals won’t comply with new gun laws.
This stream-of-consciousness speaking makes it hard to figure out in what manner to add punctuation and paragraph breaks. The key question is about what we are to do between the two sentences, “That will be a horrible day. If, if Hillary gets to put her judges—right now, we’re tied.” He adds the comment that Scalia’s death was a horrible thing, but he often wanders back and forth among topics, so it’s unclear still what the “horrible day” refers to.
Did he mean that if Clinton gets to appoint justices to the Supreme Court, that will be a horrible day? If so, the claim that Trump was encouraging the idea of assassination as a corrective gains credibility. On the other hand, he may have meant that an armed rebellion against the government would be horrible. And in that case, we’re left to decide whether his tone was one of “you’ve got a nice campaign here…” or if he was expressing genuine concern for the country.
The Secret Service has paid the Trump campaign a polite visit and got the “I was only kidding” response that seems to be the norm whenever anyone mouths off on social media about wanting to shoot politicians—Ted Nugent, for example. In any case, it’s a sad state of affairs to find our nation caught between a candidate who, in the words of Henry Drummond from Inherit the Wind, has never pushed a noun against a verb except to blow up something and a candidate who puts forth a heroic effort to look surprised when she’s caught bending or breaking the rules.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.