In light of a terrible couple of weeks for Republican nominee Donald Trump, during which he first drew the ire of even the conservative voter pool for berating a Gold Star mother and then insinuated violence against presidential rival Hillary Clinton, leading media organizations have chastised the real estate mogul for his “disgusting” comments, with some going on to suggest that he must drop out of the presidential race.
While left-leaning and centrist news publications have continually highlighted the perceived threats that a Trump presidency could pose for America, his comments at a Tuesday rally where he seemed to suggest that violence against Clinton might be the only way to stop her from clinching the presidency has not gone down well with a significant section of the media, as well as upsetting the Republican leadership.
At a rally in Wilmington in North Carolina on Tuesday, Trump’s remarks about the right to bear arms were seen by many as encouraging violence against Clinton, with some even going on to suggest that Donald Trump was encouraging his supporters to attempt to assassinate the Democratic nominee.
Trump was talking about how Clinton would plant her moles in the Justice Department if she became the president when, almost as an afterthought, he appeared to muse if there was a way for “Second Amendment people” to stop her from doing that.
“Hillary wants to abolish — essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, 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 I tell you what, that will be a horrible day, if Hillary gets to put her judges in, right now we’re tied.”
The 2nd Amendment wasn't written so people could hunt. It was written so people could protect themselves from tyrannical government. #fact— Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) August 9, 2016
.@realDonaldTrump makes death threats because he's a pathetic coward who can’t handle the fact that he’s losing to a girl.— Elizabeth Warren (@elizabethforma) August 9, 2016
The remarks were the final straw for some news outlets that have been critical of Donald Trump in the past, with the New York Daily News perhaps taking the harshest stand on the matter. Having earlier argued that Trump is temperamentally unfit to hold the highest office in the land, a scathing editorial in the newspaper rebuked the Republican nominee for his “madness,” saying Trump’s statements on Tuesday could instigate a “demented” follower to carry out “political bloodshed.”
“Donald Trump must end his campaign for the White House in a reckoning with his own madness, while praying that nothing comes of his musing about an assassination of Hillary Clinton.
“In the event that Trump fails to abandon his candidacy — as he seems determined to — the Republican Party, including vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, must instead abandon Trump for toying with political bloodshed.
“Trump can offer no apology sufficient to make up for insidiously making light of murder. Nor can he explain away or justify planting a notion that could spur a demented follower to kill a political rival, a President or Supreme Court justices.”
The New York Times, in an editorial titled “Further into the muck with Mr Trump,” stated that it was probably the first time that a U.S. presidential candidate had descended to such depths of bigotry and intolerance.
“Seldom, if ever, have Americans been exposed to a candidate so willing to descend to the depths of bigotry and intolerance as Mr Trump. That he would make Tuesday’s comment amid sinking poll numbers and a wave of Republican defections suggests that when bathed in the adulation of a crowd, Mr Trump is unable to control himself.”
Don't treat this as a political misstep. It's an assassination threat, seriously upping the possibility of a national tragedy & crisis.— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) August 9, 2016
The newspaper’s columnist and veteran commentator, Thomas Friedman, even wrote that Trump is a disgusting human being and his children should be ashamed of him.
“People are playing with fire here, and there is no bigger flamethrower than Donald Trump. Forget politics; he is a disgusting human being. His children should be ashamed of him.
“I only pray that he is not simply defeated, but that he loses all 50 states so that the message goes out across the land — unambiguously, loud and clear: The likes of you should never come this way again.”
Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman, wrote in the Washington Post that the Republican party must ditch Donald Trump before something terrible happens.
“A bloody line has been crossed that cannot be ignored. At long last, Donald Trump has left the Republican Party few options but to act decisively and get this political train wreck off the tracks before something terrible happens.”
"A person seeking to be the President of the United States should not suggest violence in any way." pic.twitter.com/Uu55CBCqdK— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 9, 2016
Not only media organizations but also leaders, including Republicans, have strongly criticized Trump’s comments, saying that Americans must finally wake up to the reality of a Trump presidency and the dangers it could pose to the values considered sacred in the U.S. constitution. Former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt in 2011, urged voters to draw a “bright red line” between political speech and advocating violence, reports TPM.
“Donald Trump might astound Americans on a routine basis, but we must draw a bright red line between political speech and suggestions of violence. Responsible, stable individuals won’t take Trump’s rhetoric to its literal end, but his words may provide a magnet for those seeking infamy. They may provide inspiration or permission for those bent on bloodshed.”
“What political leaders say matters to their followers. When candidates descend into coarseness and insult, our politics follow suit. When they affirm violence, we should fear that violence will follow.
“It must be the responsibility of all Americans – from Donald Trump himself, to his supporters, to those who remain silent or oppose him – to unambiguously condemn these remarks and the violence they insinuate. The integrity of our democracy and the decency of our nation is at stake.”
Donald Trump, in his typical style, retracted furiously on his favorite platform — Twitter — soon after his statements during the Wilmington rally drew widespread public uproar. In an interview he gave Fox News after he was roundly criticized for his “assassination comment,” he said that his comment had been misconstrued and expressed surprise at what had been made of a “joke.”
“This is a political movement. This is a strong powerful movement, the Second Amendment. Hillary wants to take your guns away. She wants to leave you unprotected in your home.
“And there can be no other interpretation. I mean, give me a break.”
[Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images]