Clear sedition from Donald Trump
You can check out the legal status of sedition here. Watch this video: it seems quite clear that Trump is well into sedition:
“Irresponsible” doesn’t even approach what Trump is doing here. James Fallows observes:
Noted for the record: Today, August 9, 2016, was the day the Republican standard-bearer made a joke in public about his Democratic rival possibly being shot to death.
o the best of my knowledge, this has not happened before in modern times. I am in transit today and pass the baton to The Atlantic’s David Graham for a full rundown of the episode here. For instance:
The suggestion that the assassination of a presidential candidate—or the killing of Supreme Court justices, or an armed insurrection, depending on interpretation—could solve a policy dispute is a shocking new low for a campaign that has continually reset expectations. Trump’s defenders often scold the media for being humorless, or taking Trump’s comments too seriously. So let’s preemptively dismiss that counterargument: This aside was clearly intended to be a joke. It is also entirely shocking and appalling, even in that context.
At no point in recent American history has the nominee of one of the two major parties even jested about the murder of a rival.
In BoingBoing, Xeni Jardin has a complementary account.
It shouldn’t need to be said, but still I will say:
- People don’t do this. If an ordinary citizen made a similar joke at a town meeting, or if someone in the media like me were to say something similar on a TV or radio show, the Secret Service would probably want to know more. Through modern times, which is to say since the assassination of John F. Kennedy (and of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, and the attempted assassinations of Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George Wallace, and so on), “jokes” about shooting a president or presidential candidate are categorically not funny. Make a joke about blowing up a plane while at an airport, and you’ll be in trouble. Make a joke about guns as the solution to an election outcome you don’t like, and at the very least you are not showing commander-in-chief temperament.
- Have you no sense of decency? Any Republican “leader” who stands with Trump after this will forever share the stain Trump is bringing to public life. This is like standing with Joe McCarthy after the Joseph Welch “Have you no sense of decency?” episode. It is like standing with Bull Connor. “Responsible” Republicans, the reputation of your party’s nominee can’t be changed at this point. Yours, and the party’s, are being set now. . .
I think that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and John McCain and George P. Bush will continue to support Trump and urge us to make him president. They simply lack the courage and the principles to stand up in opposition to him. Whatever Trump does, whatever Trump says, they will continue to support him. They are apparatchiks with ambition and without conviction, and they will do anything to keep and increase power. You see a lot of such persons in authoritarian dictatorships: they will do the dictator’s bidding, whatever it is, and try to gain from it.