During Donald Trump's latest speech in North Carolina, as I'm sure you know, the presidential candidate implied that in order to prevent a victorious Hillary from appointing liberal supreme court justices, gun rights supporters should go ahead and, um, murder her (or the judges she appoints).
His exact words, which, when coupled with the intonation used really leave almost no room for interpretation, were:
By the way, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the Second Amendment people … maybe there is, I don't know.
Understandably, he faced immediate and harsh criticism for, you know, suggesting that his supporters should assassinate his political opponent.
So Trump went on Sean Hannity's program on Fox News to deny that this had been what he was implying.
Hannity attempted to spin the comment with this feat of imagination:
Obviously you're saying that there's a strong political movement within the Second Amendment, and if people mobilize and vote, they can stop Hillary from having this impact on the court.
To which Trump responded,
There can be no other interpretation. Nobody in that room thought anything other than what you just said.
Nobody in that room thought that? Hm, OK, maybe let's just take a closer look at the people in the room when you said it, shall we? That way we'll know for sure.
Specifically this guy, who was sitting directly behind Trump, and made this, um, extremely telling face.
Yeah, Mr. Trump, that's the sort of face you make when someone suggests you “mobilize and vote.”
That guy is basically doing this:
Now, OK, maybe he got, I dunno, poked in the butt with a toothpick by a leprechaun hiding under the stands or something. Who knows? I'll give the guy the benefit of the doubt.
So, let's just look at some of the other people behind Trump at the moment he made the comment, to see if they heard him telling them to just, um, “vote.”
I didn't know being told to mobilize and vote was this hilarious.
Mind you, I'm just looking at the people right behind Trump. Out of that tiny collection, you can literally SEE how his comment was interpreted. And how else could it have been?
The best part is how, after laughing uncomfortably at hearing someone suggest homicide, their slowly faces fall, soon becoming vacant, empty, lost.
This is the face of someone suddenly questioning everything they've been saying for the last year.
Trump said this comment under that vague umbrella of “humor,” an umbrella under which, actually, he makes most of his most troubling proclamations.
Now, if you're out there thinking, “Hey, come on, he was just kidding!” then let me say this: I am a comedy writer. I love "kidding." I make my living "kidding." But I'm not trying to be the President of the United States. And even I would not “jokingly” tell you all to go fucking kill someone. Well, except Barney. Fuck Barney. Go kill Barney.
(To be clear, don't kill Barney.)
The scariest thing is that, because the key to Trump's popularity is essentially not so different than that of a club comedian (aka insulting people, saying racist things and then proclaiming “FUCK POLITICAL CORRECTNESS”), it's extremely hard to tell where his joking ends and his actual opinions begin — because I don't think he even knows where the line is.
Oh and this all comes soon after his recent public plea for Russian hackers to literally hack the democratic party — which is a hair's breadth from treason.
So honestly, at this point, it's starting to seem more and more like Donald Trump is just doing everything and anything he can think of to get out of actually having to be president.
And it's not working.