The Secret Service is “aware” of a tweet by Atlantic writer Jemele Hill which seemed to advocate for the assassination of President Donald Trump, although the agency will neither confirm nor deny that it is investigating — nor whether or not any action will be taken, the Washington Times is reporting.
On Tuesday night, following Trump’s State of the Union address, a Twitter user tweeted that it would be funny if New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat, shouted ” whose mans is this” — which is apparently teenager slang for someone who is boring or a buzzkill. Hill then tweeted, then deleted, what she thought would be a more appropriate response.
“Nah, she gotta yell: GETCHO HAND OUT MY POCKET.”
Out of context, the tweet doesn’t seem to mean much. But as explained in a companion Washington Times report, Hill was apparently referencing the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X. As the civil-rights leader was addressing the crowd, a man in the audience yelled, “N****r, get your hand out of my pocket!” — which is believed to have been an attempt to distract security at the event. Moments later, three armed men stormed the stage and shot Malcolm X dead.
In other words, Hill appeared to have been obliquely suggesting that someone should assassinate Trump.
So Jemele Hill has moved on from calling the president a white supremacist to now rooting for him to be assassinated during the state of the union. Yikes. https://t.co/XwZwIwXfRG— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) February 6, 2019
The Secret Service Responds
The Secret Service, which is in charge of protecting the president and, as such, monitoring threats against him, acknowledged in a statement that it is “aware” of Hill’s tweet. However, the agency declined to say much else.
“While the Secret Service is aware of the subject’s comments, we cannot confirm or comment on the absence or existence of specific investigations. We can say, however, the Secret Service investigates all threats related to our protectees.”
Did Hill Commit A Crime?
Maybe, maybe not. As the Metro U.S. reports, threatening the president is a Class E felony. However, convictions are rare, and the Secret Service notes that 75 percent of such threats come from people who are clearly mentally ill.
What’s more, even if Hill were to be brought before a jury, the decision would have to be made on whether her statement was a threat or just hyperbole.
Not for nothing, Hill’s Twitter account remains open and active, despite the fact that threatening speech is banned on the platform.
On Wednesday, Hill apologized in a Twitter post, saying that her words were not intended to be a direct threat against Trump.
“Let me be clear: I have often disagreed with many of the president’s policies, his behavior and rhetoric, but I would never call for violence against him, or any person. I apologize for breathing life into such an absurd assumption.”