Donald Trump held a campaign rally yesterday in Panama City, Florida, a state that figures to be strategically important in the 2020 election. People in this Panhandle area of the state are still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Michael and awaiting federal relief funds.
In addition to discussing disaster relief, the president also fell upon the topic of immigration. As Trump queried ways to stem the flow of migrants, he laughed when rally goer suggested that the government kill them.
Trump lamented, to the crowd of 7,000, that border agents couldn’t use weapons against the asylum seeking migrants. “And don’t forget, we don’t let them and we can’t let them use weapons,” he said. “We can’t. Other countries do. We can’t. I would never do that. But how do you stop these people?”
A rally attendee enthusiastically responded, “shoot them.” Trump, seemingly pleased with the remark, smirked and reportedly told the audience, “That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement. Only in the panhandle.”
In situations like this, the president and his aides often suggest that he was just joking. Some of his supporters, however, take him seriously and try to intervene themselves.
According to a recent report from Buzzfeed News, the border is now teeming with unauthorized militia members who question migrants. One militia leader, Larry Mitchell Hopkins, was arrested by the FBI after his crew illegally tried to detain a group of asylum seekers. In the past, Hopkins had made death threats against Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
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Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey-based politics and technology writer. His work has been featured in psfk.com, foxsports.com, and PoliticusUSA. An avid pet lover, he has been known to contribute to Pet Lifestyles Magazine. He enjoys sports, politics, technology, and spending time at the shore with his family.