Trump’s ‘Second Amendment people’ comment was a joke
Don’t you just hate it when Donald Trump is right?
Tuesday night, following a speech at a rally in Wilmington, North Carolina, Trump took to Twitter and called the media “desperate.” He’s right, you know. We really are.
Case in point: I don’t cover politics — don’t even much care for the subject, really. And yet, how many times have I written about the stuff that Crazy Donald says?
Trump’s latest must-comment comments? The now-infamous “Second Amendment people” sound bite from last Tuesday.
“Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment,” Trump told the crowd. “By the way, and if she gets to pick — if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”
Of course, Hillary Clinton supporters immediately accused Trump of suggesting assassination. Trump supporters, meanwhile, claimed it was a simple misunderstanding.
The rest of us were left wondering whether we couldn’t just pick our next president the same way they used to ferret out witches in 17th-century Salem: Bind the two candidates with heavy rope and toss them into a large body of water. If one of them happens to miraculously float to the top, there’s your next president.
First things first here. Anybody who believes Donald Trump was seriously suggesting someone should assassinate Clinton is an idiot. But an even bigger idiot? Anybody who believes Donald Trump wasn’t making an ill-conceived joke about that very thing.
Now, I’m not discounting the possibility some nutjob hears the siren call of Trump’s comment and tries something seriously stupid. Which is one of the reasons it’s important for presidents, or presidential wannabes, not to joke about serious matters. (Think: President Reagan’s “We begin bombing in five minutes.”)
But any attempts to say Trump was intentionally sending out some sort of coded message to crazies he wanted the Democratic presidential nominee whacked is just plain ridiculous.
How do I know Trump wasn’t serious about having someone shoot Clinton? Because if he really was serious, he wouldn’t be asking someone else — he’d just do it himself. After all, the Republican nominee has already boasted he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not lose any voters. Crooked Hillary would qualify as “someone,” right?
I also know Trump was joking because it’s the same kind of sophomoric humor I might have attempted. The only difference? I’m not actually running for commander-in-chief.
There are large numbers of politicians in this country, on both sides of the aisle, for whom I could believe this was all just a simple misunderstanding. But given the fast and loose manner in which Trump has governed his tongue thus far, and his penchant for saying things without regard to things like propriety, it’s difficult to believe Trump wasn’t just being Trump.
And this is what the Republicans get for nominating the man. Because Trump isn’t just a loose cannon, he’s a loose cannon mounted on a zero-gravity, multi-axis, 360-degree swivel. A whirling dervish of an armament. Around and around it goes, and where it fires, nobody knows.
But, by golly, apparently we’re just angry enough as a nation to deploy such a misguided weapon.
There are people and organizations we deal with as journalists who drive us crazy with their cautious approach to commenting. Ever try to get a simple answer to a simple question out of the military? The Internal Revenue Service? Walmart? The Mormon Church? Organizations like this are so incredibly guarded, measured and calculating in their responses that they rarely say anything new.
And then there’s Donald Trump.
It’s actually sort of refreshing. The man is an open book. If he’s thinking it, he’s saying it. In other words: Donald Trump has thoughts. Many, many thoughts. And we’re treated to every last one of them. Every. Last. One.
Trump insists his “Second Amendment people” comment was about political power, not firepower — a call to organize and get out the vote to defeat Clinton. But the problem is, Trump wasn’t talking about the election. Trump, in this particular instance, was painting a post-election picture.
Trump sets up the joke with the scenario that “if she gets to pick her judges” — in other words, if Clinton is elected president — at that point there’s “nothing you can do.” Political game over.
Oh, but wait a minute, Trump then implies. Maybe there is something people with guns can do. (And again, this is if Hillary is already elected president.)
And then comes the ever-so-subtle punchline: “I don’t know.”
So, I’m not the funniest guy on the planet, but I do know attempted humor when I see it. Trump was trying to be funny, which is the real problem here.
Because as funny as Donald Trump is, nobody’s laughing anymore.
Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SEMarkSaal.