President Donald Trump joked about someone assassinating former Vice President Joe Biden shortly into his first term, should he win one, and then took a sexist swipe at Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), Biden’s running mate, at a campaign rally in Lansing, Michigan on Tuesday.
Trump’s inflammatory remarks followed a complaint about the 25th Amendment, which has not invoked by anyone as a means of removing him from office.
“Three weeks in – Joe’s shot, let’s go, Kamala, you ready? Most liberal person in the Senate,” Trump said. “She makes Bernie Sanders look like a serious [unintelligible].”
Trump then whined about the possibility of Harris assuming the presidency in Biden’s absence, which to him is abhorrent.
“This will not be – we can’t let it happen – this will not be the first woman president. You’re going to have a woman president – this will not be the first woman president,” Trump crowed.
The screeching crowd of MAGA-wearing Trump fans then began chanting, “Ivanka.” Why? Who knows.
Damn. Trump is talking about Biden being assassinated weeks into his presidency. What nut is going to interpret this as an encouragement?
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) October 27, 2020
Generally speaking, threatening the life of a presidential or vice presidential candidate is a felony. Trump, of course, is shielded from criminal prosecution because he has presidential immunity – and that is what makes him especially dangerous. Trump is escalating the rhetoric that has led to an explosion of domestic terrorism plots against Democrats – because he enjoys it and he knows he can get away with it.
Michigan has become particularly sensitive to plots against elected officials. Its Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, has been the victim of numerous threats against herself and her family. The FBI thwarted a plot to kidnap and execute her earlier this month.
Instead of offering words of solidarity or condemning the actions of the would-be assassins – all of whom are white nationalists whose loyalty to Trump knows no limits – the president has accused Whitmer of wanting to be a “dictator,” reenforcing the motives of those who sought to do the governor harm.
Trump has also repeatedly refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power if Biden defeats him.
With the election only a week away, nerves are frayed across the political spectrum over the prospect of civil unrest, or even violence, erupting on Election Day and beyond.
Trump is not only fueling this unsettling possibility – he is working to guarantee it.
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.