Evan Osnos of the New Yorker has a good analysis of Trump’s treasonous semi-jokey (maybe it is, maybe it’s not) request
On Tuesday, in Wilmington, North Carolina, Donald Trump was riffing on the “horrible” prospect of a Hillary Clinton victory when he paused and suggested, with a lift of his eyebrows, that there is a way that his opponent could be stopped. “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” Trump said. “Although, the Second Amendment people—maybe there is, I don’t know.”
In the arena, where the crowd appeared to be half-engaged in Trump’s familiar patter, the comment produced little more than a desultory cheer. But, for a second, Trump looked down, as if the full implications of his comment had caught him by surprise. Of those seated behind Trump, only a bearded attendee in a red shirt reacted immediately, looking to his right, mouth agape. His expression asked, as many Americans soon would: Did the Republican nominee just raise the prospect that, if he loses, gun owners could attack a President—or federal judges?
There are several ways that the Trump campaign might have tried to defuse his remark. Last month, after Trump suggested that Russian hackers should seek to obtain Clinton’s e-mails, the candidate went on to explain on Fox News that he was “being sarcastic.” The explanation did little to assuage his critics, but it gave his admirers a way to say that the media was making a fuss out of nothing. Inconveniently, that won’t work in this case. Even joking about attacking a President or a federal judge is grounds for federal investigation, and Trump has made a point of arguing that no candidate should be above the law. Last month, after the F.B.I. recommended that prosecutors not pursue charges against Clinton for using a private e-mail server, Trump condemned “our rigged system that holds the American people to one standard and people like Hillary Clinton to another.” (On Tuesday evening, the Secret Service, which is responsible for protecting Presidential nominees, said only that it “is aware of the comments made earlier this afternoon.” The former C.I.A. director Michael Hayden said, “If someone else had said that, outside the hall, he’d be in a police wagon now, with the Secret Service questioning him.”)
Instead, the Trump campaign presented his comment about the Second Amendment as a testament to the “power of unification.” In a statement, Trump’s spokesman Jason Miller said, “Second Amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power. And this year, they will be voting in record numbers, and it won’t be for Hillary Clinton, it will be for Donald Trump.” In one interview after another, Miller maintained that Trump was referring to “voting power,” though it was clear that Trump had been talking about what “Second Amendment people” could do after losing the vote.
For anyone who cares about the future of American politics, . . .
I’m sure that Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, John McCain, and George P. Bush will continue to back him because they have (a) no guts, and (b) no principles.