Republicans Say We Should Just Laugh Off Donald Trump’s Assassination “Joke.” No.

“The in-group for that joke should be tiny. Like his hands.”

Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/ZUMA

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


On Tuesday, Donald Trump ignited a firestorm of controversy when he told his supporters at a rally in North Carolina that “Second Amendment people” could block Hillary Clinton and her Supreme Court appointees if she was elected president.

Democrats and gun control advocates were quick to denounce the remarks as an assassination threat. Some Republicans (and even some media outlets) used the rationale that Trump’s comment was okay because it was just a joke.

House Speaker Paul Ryan described it as a “joke gone bad”; headlines ran similar explanations.

In other words: get over it.

But this particular incident might be different from all the other times Republicans have been forced to defend Trump. As Jason P. Steed, an attorney and former English professor from Texas, explained on social media, there’s always a bit of truth to a dangerous punch line, especially when it’s joking about taking up arms against a political rival.

Let Steed’s popular tweetstorm explain:

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate