I received a surprising amount of feedback by email and social media over the weekend about what struck me as a throwaway moment from the 2016 campaign and – surprise – it was yet another comment from The Donald. Imagine the horror sending shock waves through the media when Mr. Trump raised the specter of shooting somebody in upper Manhattan. (ABC News)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump joked today that he could “shoot somebody” in New York City but still not lose what he called his loyal supporters.
“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?” Trump said to laughter at a rally he held at a Christian college in northwest Iowa. “It’s like, incredible.”
As he spoke, the billionaire put his fingers into the shape of a gun and acted out pulling the trigger.
The Guardian quickly jumped on the comments, describing them as pushing the limits of his political rhetoric. Watching the coverage on CNN this weekend you might have thought that Trump actually had shot somebody. Oh… and he also pointed his fingers in the image of a gun.
Everyone had to get in on the action, it seems, and Chris Christie was “flabbergasted” at the nerve of Donald Trump saying such a thing. But then he followed it up with what must be one of the more tone deaf moments of the month. (NJ.com, emphasis added)
But the New Jersey governor conceded Sunday that Trump’s latest comment that he could “shoot somebody” and still “wouldn’t lose voters” astonished him.
“I don’t know whether it’s true or not, but it’s pretty amazing to say it – isn’t it?” Christie asked his town hall crowd in Portsmouth…
Christie brought up Trump’s remarks as he warned New Hampshire voters not to cast a ballot in about two weeks here based solely out of anger at the Washington establishment.
“I want to burn Washington down (too) because it’s so damn ineffective,” Christie said. “But who’s going to rebuild it?”
Wait… you’re upset about Trump saying he could shoot someone but you want to burn down the capital of the United States? Isn’t that arson? Wouldn’t it potentially result in tens of thousands of deaths?
Of course, attacking Christie for that comment would be as pointless as going after Trump for his remarks. Christie doesn’t literally have any plans to start chucking Molotov cocktails at the Lincoln Memorial… at least to my knowledge. And Trump isn’t threatening to actually stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and open fire. I want to bang my head on my keyboard for even having to type the words, but he was making a statement about how confident he is in the strength of his support among voters. I’ve done similar things here more times than I can count, frequently saying that too many Democrats would still vote for Hillary Clinton even if you found video of her feeding puppies into a burn barrel. It’s not something I’m accusing her of actually doing (though if you do happen to have video of that, please forward it to [email protected]), but simply a hyperbolic example of partisan zeal.
And finally, just to add a bit of perspective, if you’re looking for points to attack The Donald on in terms of saying “offensive” things on the campaign trail, does this even make the top ten? Does anyone really think that the poll numbers are going to suddenly collapse on the heels of this remark? As the Sundance Kid once said, You just keep thinkin’, Butch. That’s what you’re good at.