Journalists grappling with Trump, day 2
I’ve had more time to think about journalists grappling with Trump.
On the subway this morning I listened to the latest Slate political podcast, where they talked about Trump’s threat to have Hillary Clinton assassinated. I tried to imagine listening to this two years ago, and wondered if it would have made any sense. I would also wonder why they weren’t talking about the substance of what Trump said, as opposed to trying to discern why he said it.
The words were so dangerous, it doesn’t matter why he said it, what matters is what such words, delivered from the powerful podium he now speaks from, might incite. A line was crossed, a sacred and dangerous one, in a country with a long history of assassination of politicians.
The question they were avoiding
The question they should have been discussing, imho, is this —
What do we do if a candidate of one of the major parties breaks an important law?
What recourse do we have?
Can we arrest the candidate?
And what if this is a warning, a shot over the bow, a test, for the next atrocity from the candidate, that might be more direct, more overt, more dangerous? What line would he have to cross to require a stronger response.
When I think about this privately, I ask myself the question they should ask out loud, in public. When is it too much, and what power do we have to stop it?
What if it were to happen?
Now suppose it eventually becomes a practical, not theoretical, question.
That is, what if Hillary Clinton were assassinated and it was known that the killer was inspired by Trump? What then? Does it matter that his supporters will be upset if Trump is arrested and tried? We know that’s not a justification for ignoring a heinous crime. Might want to interview a lawyer for that.
As far as I know that question has not been raised in public.