This Tuesday, Donald Trump was talking about shooting (or threatening to shoot) somebody. The only question is whether it was Hillary Clinton or judges she'll appoint as president:
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appeared to joke about the possibility that Hillary Clinton could be shot in remarks at a campaign rally Tuesday in Wilmington, N.C.
Trump was discussing the possibility that Clinton, the Democratic nominee, would be able to appoint liberal justices to the Supreme Court if she wins the race for the White House.
He then said that there was nothing that could be done in that scenario, before mentioning “Second Amendment folks.”
“Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the Second Amendment,” Trump said to boos from the crowd.
“By the way, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks,” he then added.
“Though the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know.”
The campaign's response simply doesn't address the fact that Trump said "if she gets to pick her judges"-- a reference to a period after Clinton is inaugurated:
Trump campaign responds. Says he was talking about the power of second amendment people at the ballot box. pic.twitter.com/Ak1Vmsx5Fo
— Tamara Keith (@tamarakeithNPR) August 9, 2016
Is that The Line?
You know, The Line, the one that He, Trump has to cross before the entire Republican Party, not to mention a good portion of the human race, finds him too revolting for their delicate stomachs? What say you, Paul Ryan? Is that the line? John McCain? Mitch McConnell? All you clowns in the tricorns and the Watering The Tree Of Liberty tank tops? What say you all? Do you stand by this?
If he'd implied that a citizen should stab her to death, or wire explosives to her car, I think -- I think -- that Ryan and McConnell and the rest of the party-before-country bastards who've enabled Trump for a year would finally say they've had enough. Or maybe not -- heaven knows they don't want to offend his base! (John McCain couldn't say anything negative about Trump until the end of the month -- his primary is on August 30. Ryan might say something sooner -- his primary is today.)
But in this case, they simply can't say anything, because denouncing Trump would be implicitly denouncing conservative America's true god, the holiest of holies: the Gun. None may blaspheme it!
So they'll say nothing. They'll elbow reporters out of the way if questioned. They'll pray for a swing in the news cycle that will spare them from having to offer an opinion. If forced, they'll echo the nonsense from Trump's communications director.
My question is: What are they going to do when Trump says this again?
Would he dare? Why not? In his mind, this remark put him right where he wants to be: under attack from the forces of "political correctness" and revving up his base. Maybe he'll do it with a nod and wink to the forces he'll say are trying to suppress his plain talk -- They told me I can't talk anymore about the Second Amendment people (cheers), but you know who you are, and you know what to do if Crooked Hillary starts picking the judges (massive roar from the crowd). But I think he'll say it again. No one could make him stop talking about Judge Gonzalo Curiel for days, or the Khan family. Why should this be any different?
Oh, maybe Paul Manafort and the kids will get him to back off before he doubles down and becomes the first major-party presidential candidate to be questioned by the feds for violent threats. But don't bet the house on that.
UPDATE: Nope, no Republican is even going to entertain the possibility that Trump meant what he said -- 100% of the Republicans who respond will talk just like this:
— Dan Gallo (@dangallo) August 9, 2016
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog