Say, did you hear that somebody tried to assassinate the presumptive Republican nominee for President? If you’re a regular reader of Hot Air then you probably caught the news when John Sexton covered it last night. But if you’re a more casual consumer of political news you might have missed it. In fact, when I asked people on Twitter last night if it seemed as if this wasn’t getting much coverage I received immediate responses from politically engaged followers who had missed it entirely.
— Annie_Bannany (@Annie_Bannany) June 21, 2016
The fact is that it happened. A man named Michael Steven Sandford had been planning to assassinate Trump for more than a year, and while it wasn’t the most brilliant of plans one might imagine (thankfully), he did obtain some weapons training before attempting to seize the service weapon of a local law enforcement officer to shoot Mr. Trump.
One might imagine that this was big news, but even the most rudimentary details of the attempt were missing from the few news hits which bothered to cover it. As John accurately included in his report, the press was telling us that he was, “a UK citizen who has been in the United States for about 18 months. He lived in Hoboken, NJ and then drove cross country to southern California. He drove from there to Las Vegas last Thursday with the intention of killing Trump.”
For most of the outlets covering it, that was about it. Politico last night wasn’t offering much more. In fact, you had to go through a number of sources before you finally learned, among other things, that he was in the country illegally. (Associated Press)
A complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Nevada charges Sandford, 20, with an act of violence on restricted grounds. He was denied bail during a court appearance later in the day. His court-appointed attorney said he was living out of his car and in the country illegally after overstaying a visa…
Heather Fraley, his assigned public defender, said Sandford appeared to be competent. She said he hadn’t been diagnosed with a mental illness but that he has autism and previously attempted suicide. He doesn’t have a job.
Sanford’s mother told court researchers that he was treated for obsessive compulsive disorder and anorexia when he was younger, and that he once ran away from a hospital in England, according to the public defender.
Can you imagine the coverage we’d be seeing if someone had attempted to shoot Hillary Clinton? The same could be said if it had happened with Barack Obama in the summer of 2008. Questions would be debated on air for weeks on end about the evil lurking in the hearts of men and why someone would be so desperate to prevent the election of the first black or female president. But when someone plots for more than a year to kill Trump, travels across the country to find an opportunity and then launches his attempt, it creates barely a ripple in the media pond.
And what of the fact that Sandford is an illegal alien? When other illegals commit (or seriously attempt) high profile crimes it at least creates something of a stir and renews the discussion about border control and immigration policy. Why is Sandford so uninteresting? It is because he’s white and from England rather than coming across our southern border from Mexico or Central America? His presence in the country is just as illegal as any drug cartel member here on a mission from El Chapo.
Or is it simply the fact that most of the political media assumes that people wanting to kill Trump fits so well into their own world view that this is just a dog bites man story?