Donald Trump: “Second Amendment People” May Be Only Way To Stop Hillary Clinton On Judges

Did Donald Trump really suggest assassination as a political weapon, even as a joke? It sure sounds like it.

Donald Trump Speaking Closeup

Donald Trump has started what seems likely to become this weeks campaign controversy with a comment suggesting that ‘Second Amendment people’ could stop a President Hillary Clinton from appointing Judges hostile to gun rights:

Donald Trump on Tuesday said “the Second Amendment” may be the only way to stop Hillary Clinton from getting to appoint federal judges if she wins the presidential election in November.

“Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment,” he said, in what appeared to be a joke. “By the way, and 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’ll tell you what, that will be a horrible day.”

The reference to the Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms, could be interpreted as a joke about using violence to stop Clinton or her judicial picks.

Trump was speaking at a rally in Wilmington, North Carolina, where he repeated his regular claim that Clinton intends to “abolish” the Second Amendment, presumably by appointing liberal justices to the Supreme Court. But Trump punctuated that line with an aside, suggesting that Second Amendment supporters might be in a position to stop her even if she’s elected.

The Trump campaign rejected the notion that Trump was inciting violence against Clinton or anyone else with his aside at the Wilmington rally. Instead, the campaign said the Manhattan billionaire was simply appealing to the collective political muscle Second Amendment supporters possess.

“It’s called the power of unification – 2nd Amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power,” Trump’s senior communications advisor Jason Miller said in a statement emailed to POLITICO. “And this year, they will be voting in record numbers, and it won’t be for Hillary Clinton, it will be for Donald Trump.”

Clinton did not take any questions after her event in Miami on Tuesday, but reached for comment, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook condemned the comments. “This is simple—what Trump is saying is dangerous. A person seeking to be the President of the United States should not suggest violence in any way,” he said in a statement.

The implication that many listeners drew from Trump’s comments is obvious, that Trump was suggesting, albeit in a way that he seemingly dismissed as something that would be “horrible,” that perhaps gun rights activists should consider killing President Clinton if she appoints Judges hostile to the Second Amendment. Given the fact that such an even would result in the elevation of Tim Kaine, who is just as supportive of gun control as Clinton if not more so given his experience of being Virginia’s Governor when the Virginia Tech massacre took place, to the Presidency it’s unclear why Trump would even think this would stop anything. Indeed, if anything it would seem like the type of event that would completely discredit the gun rights movement and perhaps shift the nature of the gun control debate in the United States. Of course, the kind of person likely to make a statement like this probably isn’t thinking very clearly to begin with so asking that question is probably an exercise in futility. There was also some suggestion on social media that Trump was joking when he made the comment, but if that’s the case then one has to wonder about the sanity and judgment of someone who would joke about the assassination of a potential future President.

For their part, the Trump campaign denies that Trump was talking about assassination at all:

Donald Trump’s rapid response team on Tuesday tried to walk back the candidate’s suggestion that Second Amendment enthusiasts could stop Hillary Clinton, remarks interpreted widely as the GOP nominee joking about an assassination.

“It’s called the power of unification,” Jason Miller, campaign spokesman, said in an email sent by the rapid response team. “2nd 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.”

This explanation makes no sense given the context of Trump’s comments since it was clear that he was talking about something that would happen after the election in the event Clinton won, not the election itself. Additionally, his statement that such an event would be “horrible” seems to clearly indicate what he was talking about here, and it wasn’t political coalitions and voting. Even if he was only joking, there’s nothing acceptable about anyone who would suggest that murder is an acceptable alternative when political disagreements arise. Of course, Donald Trump has a long history of saying things that are unacceptable so this is hardly surprising. The question at this point is when his own party is going to acknowledge once and for all that this man lacks the judgment or temperament necessary to be President, not that I’m holding my breath waiting for that day.

The Washington Post’s Philip Bump comments:

To be very clear: Trump is referring to remedies for judicial picks made by Hillary Clinton once she takes office. The remedy he proposes is that the “Second Amendment people” — gun owners — deal with it. There are at least two plausible ways to read this: Either Trump is casually suggesting that a sitting president could be shot or he’s arguing that gun owners engage in armed conflict with federal officials sent to collect their weapons.

It’s clear that some in the audience read it the former way. A couple sitting over Trump’s left shoulder visibly reacted to the statement — with laughter, as Trump will argue he intended.

Trump’s comments are without precedent in a modern presidential campaign. For weeks, he’s argued without evidence that the election will be “rigged” against him, comments that seem to suggest that he won’t accept a general election result that has him losing. (As polls currently suggest could well happen.) He’s argued before that Supreme Court picks are a key reason to support him. But even a joking implication that a political opponent be killed is exceptional.

In any case, here is the video of Trump’s comment:

And here’s a slightly longer version that shows the comment in context.

This is the Republican nominee for President, my friends. It’is beyond pathetic.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Donald Trump, Guns and Gun Control, Hillary Clinton, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed for too young in July 2021.

Comments

  1. Thor thormussen says:

    Second Amendment Solutions.

  2. Thor thormussen says:
  3. Thor thormussen says:

    “Who will rid me of these troublesome judges?”

  4. C. Clavin says:

    From Josh Marshall at TPM:

    You’ve seen the quote. It speaks for itself. But remember this. For Donald Trump, life is about domination. There are dominators and the dominated. Right now he’s being dominated, beaten, humiliated. That may be fun to watch if you’re a Democrat. It’s not fun for him. That psychic injury will drive escalating reactions.

  5. grumpy realist says:

    We’re all watching this in fascinated horror, wondering “oh my god, what NEXT?”

    After you’ve snuck up to the edge of suggesting that your political competitor be assassinated, where can you go from there?

  6. Castanea says:

    All who won’t vote Clinton are evil and deserve unhappiness. Same goes for anyone that disagrees with that statement.

  7. CSK says:

    I think a bunch of wavering Republicans and Independents just decided to move into the Clinton camp.

  8. pylon says:

    The spin that it’s about uniting and voting against her is lame and doesn’t fit with what he was saying (since it was a comment about about a response to a post-election act by Clinton), like Bump noted.

    If they were act all creative, not that I believe this spin and not to put ideas in their heads, they’d say he is the victim of a misplaced comma: “…although, the Second Amendment, people . . . maybe there is…” (in other words, maybe SCOTUS judges couldn’t get past the literal meaning of the 2nd Amendment).

    He mumbled through that line fast enough to make it almost arguable.

  9. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Oh, perhaps marching on Washington with fully loaded guns after he loses the election? Blowing away the senate and house of representatives? Firebombing HRC’s inaugural?

    Trump, as I’ve said many times before, is a proudly ignorant psychotic. But if there’s one thing he’s expert at, it’s manipulating the violent, vengeance-driven morons who support him. He knows his marks.

  10. gVOR08 says:

    Shouldn’t his constant babbling incoherence concern us as much as what he seems to be saying?

  11. Tillman says:

    Given the fact that such an even would result in the elevation of Tim Kaine, who is just as supportive of gun control as Clinton if not more so given his experience of being Virginia’s Governor when the Virginia Tech massacre took place, to the Presidency it’s unclear why Trump would even think this would stop anything.

    …I feel like this bit of analysis, which isn’t wrong, is missing the point.

  12. Pch101 says:

    If Trump is elected, then we’re going to need a cabinet-level Secretary of the Non Sequitur just to keep up with this guy.

    Honestly, that was too incoherent for it to be a threat. Second Amendment blah blah Hillary blah blah guns! blah blah etc blah blah.

  13. CSK says:

    @gVOR08:

    It should certainly concern us, and anyone of reasonable intelligence. But to a Trumpkin, babbling incoherence is a sign of patriotism and authenticity. Same reason why they loved Sarah Palin.

  14. @grumpy realist:

    It’s like a disembodied Id somehow assumed human form.

  15. Scott says:

    The question has to be asked, over and over again, until the question is taken seriously and answered: “What is wrong with this guy?”

  16. al-Alameda says:

    @grumpy realist:

    We’re all watching this in fascinated horror, wondering “oh my god, what NEXT?”

    To be fair, he managed to control himself for about an hour yesterday, when he discussed economic policies and doing away with the “death tax.”

    I must admit, Trump has fallen well short of my extremely low expectations of him. I expected him to not be as relentlessly un-thoughtful and careless as he has been in the post-RNC period. Just remarkable.

  17. Paul L. says:

    Notice Doug is all over this.
    No new post about Appeals Court reinstates the True the vote lawsuit against the IRS that he cheered the dismissal of in a post.

  18. Trumpkin says:

    Because you lapdogs always need things explained to you in small words. …but before we get there…what no article about terrorist father at Clinton rally????….anyway the day the Democratic Party bans guns / abolishes the second amendment is the “horrible” day the second civil war starts.

  19. elizajane says:

    Last week Trump says Hillary is the devil; this week, 40% of his supporters in North Carolina literally believe it. This week he suggests second amendment remedies and we’re supposed to think “oh, it was just a joke”? No chance. He’s already preaching to the insane asylum.

  20. humanoid.panda says:

    @grumpy realist: Torture fantasies.

  21. michael reynolds says:

    @Paul L.:

    Are you mentally deficient?

  22. Moosebreath says:

    @Tillman:

    “…I feel like this bit of analysis, which isn’t wrong, is missing the point. ”

    Because if you are willing to support one political assassination if you don’t get your way, why not two, giving you President Paul Ryan.

  23. reid says:

    @Trumpkin: Even Doug couldn’t find the “both sides do it” equivalence on this day. (Seriously, “terrorist father at rally”? How desperately stupid.)

  24. dennis says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Oh, ignore him, mr. Paul is just trying to derail the conversation because his candidate is derailing the train he’s riding on.

  25. bk says:

    @Trumpkin:

    what no article about terrorist father at Clinton rally????

    It was an open rally. He wasn’t an “invited guest”. The campaign had no idea he was there. In other words, you’re a moron.

  26. dennis says:

    I’m at the point where I’m starting to truly believe Trump does not want to be POTUS, and is crashing the car on purpose. No one can be this stupid.

  27. Argon says:

    @dennis, As another blogger noted, when considering explanations for Trump’s behavior, the stupidest reason tends to be the right one.

    I hope someone can find a URL to that observation.

  28. CSK says:

    @dennis:

    It is possible that Trump is the dog who caught the car, and now has absolutely no idea what to do with it.

  29. Concerned UK Citizen says:

    Jaw dropping!

    This man just cannot help himself.

    I watched his “economic speech” yesterday – the most unconvincing performance I’ve seen so far. It doesn’t matter what his advisor’s write for him to say, it’s obvious to me that (he (DT) (1) doesn’t believe a word of it, and (b) almost certainly doesn’t understand any of it.

    His supporters believe that his unfamiliarity with facts and truth as “straight talking” – it scares me that these people are even allowed out!

    A thinly vielled call for violence against a presidential candidate is outrageous – if a Muslim/person of colour has said the same thing, his supporters would be jumping on it as evidence that he (DT) is right about banning Muslim entering the country.

    Not to mention, the FBI / Security Services would have that person in handcuffs quicker than you can say ‘build a wall’

  30. Jen says:

    Rep. Duncan Hunter was on CNN this evening, explaining this away by saying that Trump “isn’t a professional speaker.” Wolf, pointing out the obvious, said, well, as President, wouldn’t he have to be careful what he’s saying, etc. Hunter: Well, it could take him some time, but this is why he’s so great!

    Honestly, Trump’s surrogates at this point must be darn near permanent vertigo with amount and frequency with which they are required to spin. After this, one of the Trump spokespeople on Erin Burnett’s show actually claimed that her thought on this (“what Second Amendment people can do”) was that they could file amicus briefs. I kid you not.

  31. dennis says:

    @CSK:

    It is possible that Trump is the dog who caught the car, and now has absolutely no idea what to do with it.

    This x 100. Well put. The sadistic side of me bares a continuous evil Grinch grin, just thinking about the just desserts the Republicans are reaping for being such shytz all these years. The sane side of me is shaking my head and asking, “Is this really what we’ve come to?”

  32. Concerned UK Citizen says:

    @Scott:

    “what is wrong with this guy” – you’d need a bumper pack of toilet rolls for that list

  33. Barry says:

    @Scott: “The question has to be asked, over and over again, until the question is taken seriously and answered: “What is wrong with this guy?””

    It’s more ‘what is wrong with the right?’, and to look at them and Trump answers the question.

  34. Concerned UK Citizen says:

    @Trumpkin:

    “terrorist father at walmart”………
    “terrorist father at JC Pennys”…… Purrrrrrrleeeeeees

  35. Mister Bluster says:

    Thirteen Days Ago, July 20, 2016
    Donald Trump’s Thugs: Execute Hillary Clinton for ‘Treason’

    “Anyone that commits treason should be shot,” Al Baldasaro, an adviser to the Trump campaign for veterans issues, told The Daily Beast. “I believe Hillary Clinton committed treason. She put people in danger. When people take confidential material off a server, you’re sharing information with the enemy. That’s treason.”

    West Virginia lawmaker Michael Folk said earlier this week that Hillary Clinton should be “hung on the mall in Washington, DC” for treason. And on the campaign trail, reports show that Trump supporters have repeatedly called for her death.
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/07/20/donald-trump-s-thugs-execute-hillary-clinton-for-treason.html
    After the comments, Trump campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks said the campaign was “incredibly grateful for his support, but we don’t agree with his comments.”

    Three Days Ago
    Trump Praises Adviser Who Called for Hillary Clinton’s Execution

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has confirmed that his adviser who once called for Hillary Clinton’s execution is still part of the campaign.
    Trump gave a shout-out to his veteran’s adviser, Al Baldasaro, during a campaign rally in Windham, New Hampshire on Saturday. “Al has been so great,” Trump said. “Where’s Al? Where’s my vet?”
    https://thinkprogress.org/trump-praises-adviser-who-called-for-hillary-clintons-execution-e7a63c5bc1d#.783sxfl0u

    Today
    Trump Blows His Mouth Off Again

    “By the way, and 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’ll tell you what, that will be a horrible day.”

    Is anyone surprised? (not me)
    Should we accept any response from a Trump apparatchik to be anything other than Newspeak?

    So is the Republican Party still supporting this crypto-terrorist?
    Maybe we will find something out on the next Fox News Press Release from the Trump camp.

  36. Concerned UK Citizen says:

    For DT’s supporters, the words “coherent” & “policy” in the same sentence is anathema

  37. Paul L. says:

    @bk:

    The campaign had no idea he was there. In other words, you’re a moron.

    In the VIP seats behind the candidate

  38. Steve V says:

    @Paul L.: Ok so explain to me why they must have wanted him there if they’re saying he wasn’t invited?

  39. Trumpkin says:

    Ah so I threw a “look a squirrel” in there and the lap dogs go barking after it. Address the central point morons… Which was??? Any of you idiots paying attention?

  40. Pylon says:

    @Paul L.: Sure, a candidate who is supposedly cold and calculating and capable of successfully “rigging” elections invites a mass murderer’s father to a rally as a VIP. Look, not everyone is as dumb as you.

  41. Pylon says:

    @Trumpkin: You don’t have a point, unless it’s under your hat. Even if was Dem policy to ban guns (which it ain’t), when can a political party abolish a Constitutional amendment?

  42. James Pearce says:

    If you think about it, it’s not really too much of a leap to go from “Lock her up” to “Shoot her dead.”

  43. Joe says:

    @michael reynolds:

    @Paul L.:

    Are you mentally deficient?

    Love ya, Michael, but you are a habitual bait chaser. Not by DT standards, but, seriously?! @Paul L. is this day’s stupid bait. We need a button here called “No substance here” or “personal sideshow.”

    I wish OTB numbered comments so I could come back to a thread and skip by tiny pissing contests. There are not enough hours in the day to respond to @Paul L. Walk by. Let it go. Live in the real world.

    @Tillman:

    Given the fact that such an even would result in the elevation of Tim Kaine, who is just as supportive of gun control as Clinton if not more so given his experience of being Virginia’s Governor when the Virginia Tech massacre took place, to the Presidency it’s unclear why Trump would even think this would stop anything.

    Yes, Doug, let it go. Do not ascribe chess moves to a checkers player. They are both talents, but they are very different talents. DT is going day-to-day or minute-to-minute. Do you think he remembers Tim Kaine’s name? Let alone his positions? DT is not playing your thought games, buddy. Stop transferring your sophistimicated politics on little ole’DT.

  44. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Tillman:

    Doug’s a libertarian. Empathy comes hard for him.

  45. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Trumpkin:

    Oh wow, you like Turner Diaries fanfiction too?

  46. grumpy realist says:

    @Scott: He’s trying to gaslight the entire American populace. Quite a lot are still in the “you adore me!” stage. The rest of us are in the “you’re trying to make me think I’m crazy, aren’t you?” stage.

  47. Blue Galangal says:

    @James Pearce: One of the news sites – now I’m blanking on MSNBC or CNN – has a clip where you can hear the people in the crowd yelling what sounds like “Kill her!” after he says that. I’m at a loss for… coherent thought, not only that he said it, ha ha, nudge nudge wink wink, but that people are honestly out there saying “both sides do it” (Mark Halperin) and “Trump was clearly talking about unification” (Katrina Pierson).

    This is terrifying, disgusting, and sickening.

  48. Paul L. says:

    @Pylon:
    The “terrorist” father lost a child to gun violence. He is a true victim to be honored by the Democrat.

    candidate who is supposedly cold and calculating

    Like her illegal personal FOIA dodging email server or her backtracking on overturning Heller?
    From the bitter comments, it must be terrible that the True the Vote/IRS lawsuit that progressives said has no merit and would never proven in a court of law like the Mann defamation lawsuit is still going .

  49. ltmcdies says:

    @Paul L.: oh for the love of god…all the deflection attempts in the world isn’t going to change the fact that your preferred candidate hasn’t got the judgement or impulse control to manage ice cream stand let alone the Oval Office..

    “Second Amendment solutions”…..was that or was that not the terminology that helped cost the GOP Harry Reid’s Nevada seat?

    Does Trump not know of this incident? Is he that disinterested a “politician” that he doesn’t even read up on the types of comments that could be verbal landmines.

    Leaving aside the ethics of “winking” at the assassination of a political rival or judges who might make decisions you don’t like…how bloody stupid is Trump that he doesn’t know or doesn’t get that language which brought down one Republican could certainly bring down another.

    He too stupid to be president of anything.

    And as for the Orlando shooter’s father…he lives in a free country and can sit where ever he wants.

  50. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Donald Trump is trolling the Republican Party. There should have been no question about that after the Khan family incident. Does anyone need more proof?

  51. @dennis:

    No one can be this stupid.

    Yes. Yes, they can.

  52. DrDaveT says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Donald Trump is trolling the Republican Party.

    It’s a nice thought, but…

    Never attribute to malice anything adequately explained by stupidity or ignorance.

  53. David M says:

    OK, I can’t rule out the possibility that Trump is a Poe, trolling the GOP. He’s getting the GOP to admit there’s no voter fraud, that 2nd Amendment solutions aren’t OK, that Hillary Clinton is the responsible choice for GOP voters. He’s running no ads, and just will not shut up or stay on on message, so he’s threatening the GOP majorities in Congress.

  54. michael reynolds says:

    No, Trump is not kidding or trolling. This is not intentional in the sense of some planned series of actions.

    Trump is a psychopath. Everything Trump says or does is analogous to the actions of a shark going after a tasty fish. It’s instinct. It’s reaction. He is mentally unhinged. He is incapable of deliberately trolling because that would require self-control, and he has no self-control.

    None of this is part of some clever plan. Trump is mad – in both senses of the word.

  55. SKI says:

    @Argon:

    As another blogger noted, when considering explanations for Trump’s behavior, the stupidest reason tends to be the right one.

    I hope someone can find a URL to that observation

    No url to the specific post but it was definitely Josh Marshal at TalkingPointsMemo.com in the editors section.

  56. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @michael reynolds: You may be right about Trumps mental state—but even a psychopath is willing to do anything it takes to win. Ted Bundy by most accounts was charming….until it was time to spring his trap. DR has many people that report he has the ability to be socially competent when beneficial to DT. This guy does not want to be President…..and I believe he has a beef with Republican Party that he’s settling a score by doing this. Alla Perot.

  57. Kylopod says:

    @michael reynolds: I don’t think that cleverness or planning are among the necessary attributes of a troll.

  58. Grumpy Realist says:

    @Jim Brown 32: which is why there’s speculation that we’re seeing what happens when narcissistic older man starts going senile.

    Trump doesn’t have the conscious self-control at present to KEEP being an Evil Mastermind for more than 5 seconds. He’s surrounded by people who think they can ride him to success. And then there’s Trump’s Chumps, who I’m really scared of. (Not individually, but in bulk.)

    There’s a REASON why Nigerian spam is written to warn off the intelligent and the prudent….

  59. MarkedMan says:

    @SKI: Here’s a link to Marshall’s column on “Trump’s Razor”. Basically he’s adapting Occam’s Razor to assume the motivations for any action or statement by Trump should be weighed and it is safest to assume the stupidest one is true.

  60. Argon says:

    @MarkedMan:.
    That’s the link. Thank you!

  61. Andrew says:

    If there is one thing I want in the leader of the western world is having to wait hours, if not days, to clear up any verbal diarrhea.

    This should make some flat-out awesome diplomatic and governing scenarios in the future. A SOTU address saying people in the England could really benefit from getting bombed.

    Three hours later :

    “No, no, President Trump did not mean that we should bomb this country. President Trump is always on the social networks, as we all know. And he was simply using the lingo for getting drunk. And we all know how the British really like their beer…heh…SQUIRREL! You know it’s Hilary’s fault.”

    Ah, yes, I really want that kind of leadership in the Oval Office.

  62. grumpy realist says:

    Now the excuse is “Trump’s just not very articulate.”

    Which means the following:

    1) we’re at the mercy of the interpreters (Trumpeze–> English, Trumpeze –> any other language when dealing with the outside world)

    2) I always wanted to live in a Schrodinger presidency! (NOT.)

    3) What happens when two sets of battling interpretations come out? Do we flip a coin?

    4) Why does this remind me of an overprotective parent continuing to find excuses about “Little Donny is a genius; he’s just not very articulate” (when the truth is Little Donny is as dumb as a rock.)

  63. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: More importantly, what’s wrong with his voters?

  64. SenyorDave says:

    Thomas Friedman has a column in the Times today on the subject, and specifically how it relates to the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. His closing paragraph:

    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.

    “He is a disgusting human being”. That’s what I have been saying for months now. I was in the New York area in the 1980’s when Trump was in his heyday. What you are getting now is Trump on his best behavior. He is worse than he is showing right now. That he is anywhere near the most powerful position in the world is beyond belief. I voted for Obama twice, but I never doubted that McCain and Romney wanted the best for this country. I don’t believe for a second that Trump cares at all about anything but himself. He is a sociopath, and if he weren’t rich he would probably be a psychopath.

    Like the ad says, what sort of person mocks a man’s disability?

  65. @Jim Brown 32:

    but even a psychopath is willing to do anything it takes to win. Ted Bundy by most accounts was charming….until it was time to spring his trap. DR has many people that report he has the ability to be socially competent when beneficial to DT. This guy does not want to be President…..and I believe he has a beef with Republican Party that he’s settling a score by doing this

    The more likely explanation is that he doesn’t understand what it takes to win.

    We all know/have encountered people who think that there are simple solutions to complex problems (like “build a wall”). I had a student once who believed if we just threatened to nuke Mecca if there was one more terrorist attack on the US that that would deter any further attacks. He also thought if we put machine gun towers on the border and shot people trying to cross illegally that that would solve the immigration issue.

    He wasn’t stupid, but he had a combination of odd beliefs and some personality problems (to be kind). Sound familiar?

    Trump is, at best, an egotist with simplistic view who enjoys adulation and has learned to play certain crowds to get the love.

    Those people love what he says becacuse they, too, lack a serious understanding of the way the world works. Most people hate politicians and think they are liars because the ones who understand how the world works know that there are no easy answers to complex questions and that often one is dealing with a moving target so that what one thought (and said) yesterday is not longer true a month from now.

    I don’t see how anyone could fake their way to this position. Plus, Trump has been Trump for a long time. This is not new.

  66. Ratufa says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Trump is a psychopath.

    Most of the speculation I’ve seen about Trump’s mental state is about whether he has narcissistic personality disorder.

  67. Jen says:

    @grumpy realist: Yup–I watched that interview. Wolf Blitzer was incredulous, and did try and pin Hunter down on that, asking him if perhaps being articulate and saying what you mean isn’t kind of an important thing for a President. Hunter glossed over it.

    Trump is a horrible human being, and would be a disastrous President. That we have to suffer through another 90 or so days for the resolution of this campaign is really soul-killing.

  68. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Trumpkin:

    Any of you idiots paying attention?

    To you? Whatever for?

  69. C. Clavin says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Trump’s just not very articulate.

    Let’s say that’s true.
    What happens when a foreign leader mis-interprets what he says?
    Should a thin-skinned, insecure, in-articulate man, prone to bluster and retaliation have the nuke codes?
    This man is dangerous…and the Republican leaders that refuse to disavow him are all cravenly abdicating their moral duty.

  70. grumpy realist says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Folie a deux, I suspect. Look at what people who are tied up in gaslighting or other abusive situations will find excuses for.

    Trump is their Great Savior, just as Mussolini was for the Italians He made them feel better about themselves, which is why they followed him like sheep.

    The main reason we’re not going down the same path is because Trump’s goals are far more instinctive and self-directed. He wants the adoration of crowds and to feel like a big shot. If we just surround Trump with sufficient ass-kissing and people sucking up to him he’ll be perfectly happy, fugghetabaht actually doing anything. He’s already made this known with his comments about hiving off as much of the “work” as possible to his VPOTUS. He wants the glitter, not the gold. (Which is also why Trump isn’t a real Evil Mastermind. A real Evil Mastermind will always go for actual power over the appearance of power. I should know, as an INTJ. Heh heh heh. )

  71. CSK says:

    Hilarious that the Chumpkins are now defending Trump on the grounds that he’s inarticulate, given that they’ve always praised him as a genius speaker.

  72. Jen says:

    He has done real damage to his brand, which is ironic given that he likely got into this race to pump it up.

    https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/poll-voters-now-less-impressed-with-trumps-business-experience

  73. jd says:

    @Joe: “I wish OTB numbered comments…”

    They are numbered. The date/time link after “so-and-so says” is the URL to your comment. Example: https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/donald-trump-second-amendment-people-may-be-only-way-to-stop-hillary-clinton-on-judges/#comment-2110832

  74. pylon says:

    @CSK: I saw someone repeat a tweet that was essentially:

    Trump Supporter: “I like him because he says what he means and means what he says”.

    Trump: “Maybe Second Amendment people can do something about Clinton.”

    Trump Supporter: “Hey, he didn’t really mean that”.

  75. Gavrilo says:

    So, the NRA (i.e. “the Second Amendment people”) who the left has claimed for decades is all-powerful and OWNS the Republican Party lock stock and barrel, couldn’t organize 40 Senators to block a Clinton Supreme Court nominee? The only plausible way for “Second Amendment people” to stop Hillary Clinton from appointing a pro gun control nominee is to assassinate her? Got it!

  76. CSK says:

    @Jen:

    Trump probably never took into account the simple fact that if he ran for the presidency, inevitably word would get out about his four bankruptcies, multitudinous failed enterprises (Trump Shuttle, Trump Game, Trump Vodka, Trump Steaks, etc.), scams, abuse of eminent domain, and cheating and stiffing small contractors.

    None of this is exactly brand-enhancing.

  77. Pch101 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Occam’s Razor would suggest that he is doing what has worked for him before, but is now using it in a setting in which it is unlikely to work.

    Let’s say that you want to build a condo project that may fail. You don’t need to convince a large plurality or a majority of the population to believe in it, you need just enough people to put up some cash. Even if 95% of those who are solicited for funds say no, it won’t matter if the target is met.

    It would seem that about 40% of the country is OK with him — some adore him, others can tolerate him. That’s enough to support a popular TV show, but it isn’t enough to win 270 electoral votes.

    He’s a BSer who wings it. He just spews stuff, much of which doesn’t mean anything because the guy has made a career out of bluster and never had to worry about pubic criticism or fact checking.

    But at the end of the day, these messages didn’t begin with him. The anti-immigrant sentiment has been attached to the GOP for decades. The same can be said of the “Democrats are gun grabbers!” rhetoric, which is essentially what Trump repeated here.

    Aside from his bluntness, Trump is a typical Tea Party candidate. Let’s not pretend that he came out of nowhere. He’s not even the first among them to link Scalia’s replacement with guns; an innovator, Trump is not.

  78. KM says:

    @Gavrilo:

    So, the NRA (i.e. “the Second Amendment people”)

    So why didn’t he say NRA? Seriously it’s three little letters, a much smaller mouthful then “the Second Amendment people”. Far easier to remember. Was he having a senior moment and couldn’t remember their name or something? Since “Second Amendment remedies” was floated by your party in the recent past with the specific meaning of violence why would it have any different connotation now?

    Again, you and yours deliberately miss the point. If you keep having to explain what “he really meant” or “he’s just joking”, then he’s not fit to be in an office where your words can literally start wars. Inarticulate people do not belong in a job where communications is key; for god’s sake, y’all worship Reagan as the Great Communicator and this is who you’re putting up for the position?!

  79. C. Clavin says:

    @Gavrilo:
    Sycophant.
    You know damn well what he was saying.
    And he sealed it when he then said:

    But I tell you what: that will be a horrible day.

    If his campaign hadn’t already threatened her death previously, maybe you would be justified in your rationalizations. But they did. This is merely the second time in three weeks they’ve called to end her life. So you are not.

  80. al-Alameda says:

    @Gavrilo:

    So, the NRA (i.e. “the Second Amendment people”) who the left has claimed for decades is all-powerful and OWNS the Republican Party lock stock and barrel, couldn’t organize 40 Senators to block a Clinton Supreme Court nominee? The only plausible way for “Second Amendment people” to stop Hillary Clinton from appointing a pro gun control nominee is to assassinate her? Got it!

    Except for the fact that he did not say NRA, you’d be on sound footing here.

    Nope, Trump was ‘dog whistling’ here; “Second Amendment People,” roughly translated, is ‘extremely agitated white guys, excessively worried about so-called gun-grabbing liberal politicians and sham military operations like Jade Helm designed to confiscate our guns.’

    Is Trump channeling Charles Manson? Of course not, but this is yet another sorry episode wherein he throws excrement against the wall, and later says he thought it was chocolate cake (the best chocolate cake.)

    Well, where there’s excrement, there’s Trump, so there will definitely be more to come.

  81. James Pearce says:

    @Gavrilo:

    The only plausible way for “Second Amendment people” to stop Hillary Clinton from appointing a pro gun control nominee is to assassinate her?

    Well, the most plausible way for “2nd Amendment people” to stop Hillary would be to nominate someone who can win an election against her.

    Or you can nominate a loser and an epic failure woefully unequipped to look after your interests and hope for the best. Your choice.

  82. Tillman says:

    @Gavrilo: See, that’s the beautiful aspect of this. If you understand how special interests can influence our legislative process to their own ends, you can figure Trump was alluding to the NRA’s defense of Second Amendment rights. It’s a perfectly valid interpretation of what he said! However, it relies on the premise that he was deliberately invoking a nuanced understanding of our politics instead of what he’s done the rest of the campaign and despite how he termed the thoughts he was speaking as “horrible.”

    This isn’t the “blood out of her eyes” fracas where he fwcks up a colloquialism in an ingeniously misogynistic way. He had an out there. The best defense his handlers have come up for this was Katrina Pierson’s, where he said it could happen and not that it should happen. That implicitly acknowledges the meaning he was aiming at. The evidence is not on the side of benign interpretations.

  83. Kylopod says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The more likely explanation is that he doesn’t understand what it takes to win.

    I believe that’s probably true. He’s essentially doing the same stuff he did in the primaries–attempting to dominate the headlines with increasingly outrageous and bizarre statements directed at his opponents. And using this approach, he managed to win the nomination against the expectations of virtually everyone in the mainstream. So when people point out to him that what works in the primaries won’t necessarily help him in the general, he may not be inclined to listen, since it comes from the same folks who said he couldn’t win the primaries.

    It isn’t just in Trump-land where you find this attitude. Michael Moore’s recent rant about how Trump is going to win is yet another example, and while Moore is himself an attention-seeking blowhard, I’ve been hearing this sort of argument a lot on both the left and right–the idea that Trump’s remarkable rise in the primaries proves he has some kind of magical ability to break all the rules and win.

    That’s among the reasons why I no longer subscribe to the theory that Trump is deliberately trying to tank his campaign. For one thing, on a number of occasions he’s defied his inclinations and made some fairly rational moves toward consolidating support within his party (his recent speech on economic policy, his attempts to woo fundraisers, his selection of Mike Pence, who was by far the most conventional of the choices available to him), and someone intent on losing wouldn’t have had to do any of those things. His saying things that would have sunk other candidates don’t prove he’s trying to lose, because none of that has sunk him before–or so he believes. If so many other people can convince themselves he’s the ultimate Teflon candidate, it shouldn’t be hard for him to convince himself.

  84. Hal_10000 says:

    “Should we be talking about Clinton’s record or policy proposals?”

    “Nah. Let’s spend our time explaining that our candidate didn’t literally threaten her life.”

    The 2016 GOP, ladies and gentleman.

  85. CB says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I had a student once who believed if we just threatened to nuke Mecca if there was one more terrorist attack on the US that that would deter any further attacks. He also thought if we put machine gun towers on the border and shot people trying to cross illegally that that would solve the immigration issue.

    Wow…a real charmer, that one.

    The excuse that DT was talking about political organization is bullshit. Read his comment. It does not follow that he would call for “2nd amendment folks” to organize AFTER Clinton is elected and makes appointments. At best, he is an idiot with zero filter, and the inability to think one sentence ahead while orating. At worst, he gave a head nod to assassinating judges. Regardless, he’s amply proven to be a thoroughly contemptible human being, and a cancer on our political process.

  86. @Pch101:

    Occam’s Razor would suggest that he is doing what has worked for him before, but is now using it in a setting in which it is unlikely to work.

    […]

    He’s a BSer who wings it. He just spews stuff, much of which doesn’t mean anything because the guy has made a career out of bluster and never had to worry about pubic criticism or fact checking.

    Indeed.

  87. CSK says:

    @Hal_10000:

    If Trump won, there would have to be a new cabinet post: “Secretary of Explaining What the F*ck It Was That Just Came Out of Trump’s Mouth.”

    Maybe he could appoint Sarah Palin to it.

  88. @Kylopod:

    I believe that’s probably true. He’s essentially doing the same stuff he did in the primaries–attempting to dominate the headlines with increasingly outrageous and bizarre statements directed at his opponents.

    It is not uncommon, even among seasoned TV commentators and observers to miss the fact that the electorate in the primary to which a candidate has to appeal for a nomination is very different than the electorate one has to appeal to so as to win office–especially for the presidency.

  89. @CB:

    Wow…a real charmer, that one.

    Yup.

  90. dennis says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I know, Steven. Unfortunately.

  91. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Kylopod: This is all speculation so a multitude of theories have validity but I believe the best sports equivalency of what Trump is doing is Point Shaving. He’s going to give minimalist effort to appear to be trying to win but he’s going to turn the ball over at important junctions in the competition or blow a few easy shots.

    Its plausible that he doesn’t know what it takes to win….but not likely. The Republican electoral map has been what it is for 8 years. A basic understanding of how national elections work would be sufficient to know that you have to turn some of the blue blocks on the map to red. While it is possible that DT believes that he can turn blue states red with his current messaging…..its not likely. The guy is an a$$hole—not stupid. There is a difference. Think Bernie Madoff

  92. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Kylopod:

    I don’t think that cleverness or planning are among the necessary attributes of a troll.

    If they were, would Jenos be able to do it? I don’t think so.

  93. DrDaveT says:

    @Tillman:

    and despite how he termed the thoughts he was speaking as “horrible.”

    FWIW, when I first heard the sound bite I interpreted the ‘horrible’ as applying to what Hillary would do that would require Second Amendment solutions. Trump does not speak or think linearly, when he thinks at all. I still think that’s the most likely interpretation — much more likely than the silly notion that Trump would think shooting Hillary would be horrible, or that he needs to give lip service to that idea.

  94. grumpy realist says:

    This reminds me of an event in history: Japan’s first reaction to the demand for surrender at the end of WWII. “Mokusatu”. Which means “ignore”, but way down in the dictionary definition supposedly also means “remain in a wise and masterly inactivity.”

    After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, when Japan had DEFINITELY surrendered, there was a squabble over what Japan had originally said. The Prime Minister said he had meant Definition 3 (“remain in a wise and masterly inactivity”) and had not meant Definition 1 (“ignore”). The other side (within Japan) called this horse apples and that he was responsible for the Allies having understood Definition 1 instead. Which lead to Hiroshima, etc.etc. and so forth. (My own opinion was that Prime Minister Suzuki was being too cute with the language, partly to keep from getting assassinated by a military punk idiot with a gun, with the usual result of satisfying nobody.)

    Moral of story: Even if you’re trying to thread the needle to produce plausible deniability later on, a) you still should realize that someone out there is liable to take it the other way, b) you’re still responsible for how punk idiots interpret your insider-baseball verbiage, c) history is gonna write you down as a weasel and an ass anyway, so might as well come out and say outright and clearly what you mean.

  95. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @grumpy realist: It’s the J that make the difference most of the time.

  96. bill says:

    another edition of “i’m offended by everything”……lord, don’t you people have lives or are you all a bunch of thin skinned pansies?! oh, never mind, forgot where i was…..

    hey, hillary almost made it up a staircase by herself the other day…….so proud.

  97. al-Alameda says:

    @bill:

    another edition of “i’m offended by everything”……lord, don’t you people have lives or are you all a bunch of thin skinned pansies?! oh, never mind, forgot where i was…..

    And if Hillary had said, “Maybe someone will go ‘second amendment’ on Donald Trump, it would be horrible, but ….” I’m sure you would have written it off as just, ‘Hillary being Hillary’ right?

    hey, hillary almost made it up a staircase by herself the other day…….so proud.

    Well, Vince Foster isn’t around any more to provide needed personal assistance. I believe he was ‘second amendment-ed’ out a few years ago?

  98. Mister Bluster says:

    Bill put his pants on today! So Proud!

  99. Kylopod says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    While it is possible that DT believes that he can turn blue states red with his current messaging…..its not likely. The guy is an a$$hole—not stupid.

    I’m not going to get into a debate over Trump’s intelligence, but I’ve seen plenty of smart people talk themselves into the idea that he’s some kind of political mastermind, a characterization that I’m sure he’s capable of believing himself. Intelligence does not necessarily entail attachment to reality, and after what happened in the primaries a feeling has settled in that anything can happen in this cycle and that Trump’s going to change the rules of the general election just like he did with the primaries. It’s not rational, but it’s understandable to some degree.

  100. dennis says:

    @bill:

    another edition of “i’m offended by everything”……lord, don’t you people have lives or are you all a bunch of thin skinned pansies?! oh, never mind, forgot where i was…..

    It’s easier to call anonymous people names over the internet, isn’t it? Much easier than exercising some critical thinking and self-reflection. Or, reflection over your candidate and party …

  101. charon says:

    @SKI:

    It is called Trump’s Razor – google Trump’s Razor and get this:

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/the-scythian-slice-of-trump-s-razor

    Josh Marshall credits John Scalzi with the observation.

  102. @Jim Brown 32:

    While it is possible that DT believes that he can turn blue states red with his current messaging…..its not likely.

    DT thinks that drawing large crowds equals lots of votes (when, in fact, it may not at all).

    DT thinks that winning the most votes in the GOP (and more than HRC did in absolute terms) means that he is the most popular GOP nominee ever (it doesn’t–it has to do with the level of competition and various other factors).

    He is making a number of errors that one might expect of a novice (oddly enough). And if any number of people can convince themselves that the polls are skewed (as they are doing now and did in 2012) why is it so hard to believe that Trump believes his own BS?

  103. Tillman says:

    @bill: I’m not offended by this. I don’t find political assassination or the intimation of it offensive. I find it horrifying.

  104. grumpy realist says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: oh boy do I have some stories….

  105. grumpy realist says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Also considering that Trump has ALWAYS been one to believe his own BS. Rewrites history: “no, no–I got out of Atlantic City at just the right time! I was a GENIUS!!!” (Reality: you waltzed into a business sector you had no experience in, ignored all the advice that was provided, and promptly face-planted yourself into bankruptcy. End of story.)

    I’m hoping that Trump loses by 40 points.

  106. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, there was a letter from a dumb-as-a-rock writer who credited Ronald Reagan with freeing the Iranian hostages in 1981. I overlooked the insult to my kinsman Jimmy Carter but, as a teaching historian, such a stupefying ignorance of history makes me shake.

  107. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: He could very well believe it. But frankly, Trump is such a BSer that its improbable that what he says in public is the same thing he says/thinks in private. BSers BS people because it validates their opinion that the person is stupid. Its rare that they actually believe it.

    This is a guy who pretty much communicated that he can do or say anything and people would still love him. This is not the type person that is appreciative or reciprocal of that type of adulation. In fact, the way the comment was presented is actually back handed condescension. I knew guys like that in college when it became clear to them that the girl they were dating would take almost any amount of crap off them to avoid the pain of a breakup. They were very condescending about their girlfriends gullibility behind their backs and even pushed the envelope with the girl in front of their friends just to show off how “dumb” she was.

    IOWs “Hey guys, watch how stupid my girl is….she’ll believe anything I tell her’

    As long as the “relationship” provided material and sexual benefits they would milk it as long as she was willing to stay.

    I see Trump as absolutely this type of guy and I see this as his relationship with his supporters. There are people out there that believe that the gullable deserve to be exploited. Trump/Madoff are prime examples

  108. gVOR08 says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    The guy is an a$$hole—not stupid.

    One of life’s lessons is that some people can go really far on the basis of hard work, aggression, and self absorption without being terribly bright or very good at what they do. Or, as in Trump’s case, being born inside the 5 yd line. I’ve seen very little evidence that he’s very bright. There have been a lot of arguments that he’d be richer today had he put his inheritance in an ETF and sat back. He talks a lot about his “Ivy League” education at Wharton. He doesn’t mention it was a BS in Real Estate. (Or I see some speculation that, like Melania, maybe not really.)

  109. Mister Bluster says:

    May I suggest a response to the Republican Party’s candidate:
    If you want her to pick the judges there is something you can do. It’s the Fourteenth Amendment Solution: All legal electors born or naturalized in the United States vote for the Democratic Ticket on Election Day.
    There won’t be any delay in getting them confirmed either!

  110. Hal_10000 says:

    @CSK:

    I liked the quote on Twitter last night that if Trump is elected, the last human communication before the missiles hit will be from a Trump spokeman explaining what he really meant.

    I’m known to have a dark sense of humor.

  111. bill says:

    @al-Alameda:

    from the nyt, may 2008;
    Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton defended staying in the Democratic nominating contest on Friday by pointing out that her husband had not wrapped up the nomination until June 1992, adding, “We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California.

    ”@Mister Bluster: shorts, it’s 100° and sunny!

    @dennis: um, you’re dennis, i’m bill. still anonymous? and you admit as much, good for you.

    @Tillman: see above, did you find it horrifying then? maybe she was just looking up history, but she doesn’t seem to remember much of anything these days.

    but for those who still have their wits about them, “2nd amd. people” are “voters”.

  112. CB says:

    @bill:

    Look at what was said, and the responses from each candidate. See if you can find the difference.

  113. Tillman says:

    @bill: I did! And I reminded people of that a few months ago when they were confident Bernie Sanders was going to never endorse and attempt to split the Dems before November, as a means of showing how non-divisive this year’s contest was in contrast.

    Pay attention, dude.

  114. al-Alameda says:

    @bill:

    “We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California”

    Hillary was suggesting as Trump did? Please.
    Trump was ‘dog whistling’ the right wing base, Hillary was doing nothing of the kind.

  115. Guarneri says:

    “If they bring a knife, we bring a gun.” – Barack Obama

    As anyone can see, he was inciting murder.

    You guys are such clowns.

  116. @bill: That statement in 2008 was bizarre and I thought it wholly inappropriate to even raise the topic of political assassinations in that way. I did not, to my recollection, write about it at the time (the only OTB post I could find was by James).

  117. al-Alameda says:

    @Guarneri:

    “If they bring a knife, we bring a gun.” – Barack Obama
    As anyone can see, he was inciting murder.
    You guys are such clowns.

    Yes, I see your difficulty in comparing Obama’s words to those of Trump, but you can get help:

    “Reading Comprehension Success in 20 Minutes” a Day 3rd Edition Edition

    It’s available at Amazon, for just $11.96, download to Kindle just $6.99