Proving Donald Trump’s constant criticism of the news media isn’t at all dangerous, a Trump supporter called a live national television show and threatened to make America great again with the attempted murder of two CNN journalists.
During C-SPAN’s Washington Journal on Friday, a man who referred to himself as Don from State College, Penn., telephoned the show to add some input about Trump’s war on journalists.
“It all started when Trump got elected,” the Don began. “Brian Stelter and Don Lemon from CNN called Trump supporters all racists. They don’t even know us. They don’t even know these Americans out here and they’re calling us racist because we voted for Trump? Come on, give me a break. They started the war. I see ‘em I’m gonna shoot ‘em”
You know who I feel sorry for in this clip? Tom in Woodbridge, Va., who had to follow Don’s call. Imagine crafting a thoughtful paragraph to enlighten the world about politics and the media, memorizing your short soliloquy, then calling up C-SPAN, only to have to follow behind MAGA Harvey Oswald. Tom could’ve told America the cure for cancer and no one would have cared because Don Wilkes Booth thinks the black guy inside his TV set dissed him.
The call to C-SPAN took place on the same day that Trump tweeted about the dangers of the media, stating that they can “cause wars.” Two days earlier, Trump took to Twitter to troll Lebron James, calling Don Lemon the “dumbest man on television.” Brian Stelter also pointed out that, prior to the C-SPAN call, Fox News’ Sean Hannity had just aired a clip of Stelter talking about racial anxiety.
It is impossible to say that these things are what caused the man to threaten a double attempted murder on national TV but the coincidence should not be ignored. Trump’s rhetoric has risen from racist dog whistles to audible slurs, and if—as he proudly proclaimed—his followers are willing to ignore him shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, then why wouldn’t they feel empowered to do the same?
While the Trump administration has not issued a comment saying the telephone call had good people on both sides, in response to the public assassination threat, the National Rifle Association issued a statement begging Don to not carry out his murderous plan...
Until he renewed his NRA membership.