SPOTLIGHT: HOW LOW WILL TRUMP GO?
Waking up in European Central Time to the morning headlines means two things right now: Rio Olympic results and Donald Trump's new low. We've been trying to digest the latest installment of the latter after the Republican nominee in his inimitable, er, offhanded way, said yesterday in North Carolina that supporters of gun rights "can do" something to stop Hillary Clinton from reaching the presidency. Was that a major party presidential nominee calling for the assassination of his opponent? Was it a bad joke gone worse? Are we serious, folks?
This is indeed a new (dangerous) low. But what caught our attention at the moment of the punchline was the reaction of Trump's own supporters, sitting behind the candidate. Watch here. Those who appear to be following what he says understand instantly what he was hinting at: One chuckles awkwardly, several wince, one man in a white beard and red shirt appears to say something like "ouch." Presumably, all will vote for Trump come November.
Trump is now on a weeks-long slide in the polls, which some say explain his near daily crossing-of-the-lines. Whether the spiral of rhetoric will continue downward, and what effect it will have on the actual election, remain to be seen. Many have noted that the poisonous impact of Trump's time on the political stage will last regardless of the results; others see this all as the ultimate exercise in democracy. It should, however, be noted that by law it is a criminal offense in the United States to call for the assassination of a presidential candidate. The Secret Service has been notified.
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