Donald Trump had some public praise on Thursday for Republican Al Baldasaro, a former campaign adviser, who once called for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be executed by a firing squad.
Trump gave props to the Republican during a rally in Baldasaro’s home state of New Hampshire. Speaking to a crowd in Manchester, Trump praised him for overcoming cancer and for being a loyal supporter. Trump said that Baldasaro would come to “every rally I ever gave in New Hampshire.”
“Right from the beginning. I got so tired of looking at him; he’d always be here,” Trump said, via Politico.
Baldasaro played a role at Thursday’s rally as well, speaking to the crowd and saying that he was sure the president would win re-election in 2020.
Al Baldasaro had sparked controversy in 2016 when he called for Hillary Clinton’s execution, saying she should be “put in the firing line and shot for treason” for the way she handled the Benghazi terror attack, Buzzfeed News reported at the time.
“She is a disgrace for the lies that she told those mothers about their children that got killed over there in Benghazi,” Baldasaro said in a radio interview. “She dropped the ball on over 400 emails requesting back up security.”
He added that anyone who commits treason should be shot, and that Hillary Clinton committed treason. Later on in the same interview, Baldasaro said that Clinton was a “piece of garbage.”
Republicans have long targeted Clinton for the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, though a series of Congressional hearings under Republican leadership failed to turn up any evidence that Clinton bore responsibility.
As USA Today noted, Democrats long contended that the investigations were meant to hurt Clinton politically ahead of the 2016 presidential nomination. Republican Kevin McCarthy, who at the time served as House majority leader, appeared to admit as much in an appearance on Fox News in which he said that because of the investigation, “her numbers are dropping.” Trump would frequently attack Clinton about Benghazi during the 2016 presidential campaign.
— Jeb Fain (@JebFain) August 16, 2019
Al Baldasaro stood by his remarks amid the controversy they caused, and Donald Trump continued to back Baldasaro as well. In 2017, Trump invited Baldasaro to a bill-signing ceremony at the White House, though the president did try to walk back Baldasaro’s statements on behalf of the New Hampshire Republican.
Trump took to Twitter to defend the comments.
“Nobody advocated shooting Hillary, just an opinion in accordance with law & CONSTITUTION on treason,” he tweeted.