More

Patti Davis, Ronald Reagan's daughter, just called out Donald Trump for violent rhetoric.

Families who've been affected by political assassination attempts are stepping forward.

Patti Davis, Ronald Reagan's daughter, just called out Donald Trump for violent rhetoric.

During an August 9 rally in Wilmington, North Carolina, Donald Trump did what he's been doing all campaign long — he said something controversial and inflammatory.

That, in itself, isn't surprising to anyone who's been following the 2016 campaign. Whether he's calling Mexicans "rapists," slamming the parents of a fallen soldier, or calling a sitting U.S. Senator "Pochahontas," we've all come to expect the offensive and unexpected when watching the man entertain a crowd.

Finally, after months of dogwhistle statements about how Hillary Clinton supposedly wants to "abolish the Second Amendment" (she doesn't, by the way), Trump's Aug. 9, 2016, comment may have taken the rhetoric a step too far when he seemed to suggest that if he were to lose the election, it'd be up to "Second Amendment people" to stop Clinton from appointing judges to fill spots on the Supreme Court.


Just another day in the campaign of Donald J. Trump. GIF from CSPAN/YouTube.

And it's pretty clear that at least some of the folks in his audience picked up on what was being not-so-subtly implied.

"He said whatttttt?" GIF from CSPAN/YouTube.

Understandably, people were pretty shocked by this, and it was reported that the Secret Service even had a chat with the Trump campaign about the whole, "Please don't put out ambiguous calls that could be interpreted as a request that someone assassinate your political opponent" thing (or maybe not; we'll never know — it's just been that kind of election, I guess).

Anyway, the whole thing devolved into a question of what Trump meant by his statement, with his campaign insisting that the words were taken out of context or misconstrued. The larger point might be, though, that it doesn't really matter what he meant so much as what people think he meant.

Over at Mic, Cooper Fleishman explored dark corners of the internet known to house some of Trump's white supremacist fanbase. Did they take his statement to mean he was encouraging them to "do something" by voting, as the campaign has since said?

No, they heard it as a call to assassinate Hillary Clinton.

On Facebook, a post by Patti Davis, daughter of Ronald Reagan, cited the assassination attempt on her father's life to chide the Trump campaign for its reckless use of language that could inspire someone to commit an act of violence.

In 1981, John Hinckley Jr. attempted to assassinate Ronald Regan because he believed it would impress actress Jodie Foster.

Addressing Trump directly, Davis warns: "[Your message] was heard by the person sitting alone in a room, locked in his own dark fantasies, who sees unbridled violence as a way to make his mark in the world, and is just looking for ideas."

To Donald Trump: I am the daughter of a man who was shot by someone who got his inspiration from a movie, someone who...

Posted by Patti Davis on Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Even if Trump really, truly meant "Second Amendment people" should go out and vote, there might be someone somewhere who interpreted that statement as an earnest call for violence. After all, there are plenty of people who will make the argument that the Second Amendment exists in part to protect the people from a tyrannical government. If someone holds that belief and also believes Hillary Clinton is a tyrant, it's easy to see how quickly that situation could escalate out of the rhetorical and into something truly horrifying.

Families of others lost to political violence — including Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Robert F. Kennedy — have also spoken out about Trump's careless words.

In an editorial for the Washington Post, Jean Kennedy Smith and William Kennedy Smith and — sister of and nephew to President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, respectively — warn of the dangerous impact such a statement can have:

"Today, almost 50 years [after the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy], words still matter. They shape who we are as a people and who we wish to be as a nation. In the white-hot cauldron of a presidential campaign, it is still the words delivered extemporaneously, off the cuff, in the raw pressure of the moment that matter most. They say most directly what is in a candidate’s heart. So it was with a real sense of sadness and revulsion that we listened to Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, as he referred to the options available to 'Second Amendment people,' a remark widely, and we believe correctly, interpreted as a thinly veiled reference or 'joke' about the possibility of political assassination."

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963, left) at his home in Georgetown, Massachusetts, with his brother Robert (1925-1968) in 1955. Photo by Three Lions/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Later, the two conclude, "The truth remains that words do matter, especially when it comes to presidential candidates. On that basis alone, Donald Trump is not qualified to be president of the United States."

Bernice King, daughter of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., took to Twitter to express her own opinion on Trump's comments.

While it's impossible to control exactly how a message is interpreted by individuals among a crowd, there's a responsibility for presidential candidates to avoid remarks that can be interpreted in a way that would suggest an openness to violence.

There are many ways Donald Trump could have framed his speech to achieve the point his campaign claims he intended. Suggesting that after the election, "Second Amendment people" "do something" isn't one of them. Whether or not you agree with Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, Evan McMullin, or somebody else, we have a responsibility to ensure that all of them — including our political rivals — are free from physical harm.

The responsible thing would be for Mr. Trump to clarify his comments publicly and be more conscientious with his words moving forward. Lives may literally depend on it.

Photo courtesy of Claudia Romo Edelman
True

When the novel coronavirus hit the United States, life as we knew it quickly changed. As many people holed up in their homes, some essential workers had to make the impossible choice of going to work or quitting their jobs— a choice they continue to make each day.

Because over 80 percent of working Hispanic adults provide essential services for the U.S. economy, the Hispanic community is disproportionately affected. Hispanic families are also much more likely to live in multigenerational households, carrying the extra risk of infecting the most vulnerable. In fact, Hispanics are 20 times more likely than other patients to test positive for COVID-19.

Claudia Romo Edelman saw a community in desperate need of guidance and support. And she created Hispanic Star, a non-profit designed to help Hispanic people in the U.S. pull together as a proud, unified group and overcome barriers — the most pressing of which is the effects of the pandemic.

Because the Hispanic community is so diverse, unification is, and was, an enormous challenge.

Photo credit: Hispanic Star

Keep Reading Show less

As I was doomscrolling through Twitter yesterday, the wording of an Associated Press post caught my eye. "The Supreme Court will allow absentee ballots in North Carolina to be received and counted up to 9 days after Election Day, in a win for Democrats," it read.

A win for Democrats? Surely they meant a win for Americans? For voters? For democracy?


Keep Reading Show less
Photo courtesy of Claudia Romo Edelman
True

When the novel coronavirus hit the United States, life as we knew it quickly changed. As many people holed up in their homes, some essential workers had to make the impossible choice of going to work or quitting their jobs— a choice they continue to make each day.

Because over 80 percent of working Hispanic adults provide essential services for the U.S. economy, the Hispanic community is disproportionately affected. Hispanic families are also much more likely to live in multigenerational households, carrying the extra risk of infecting the most vulnerable. In fact, Hispanics are 20 times more likely than other patients to test positive for COVID-19.

Claudia Romo Edelman saw a community in desperate need of guidance and support. And she created Hispanic Star, a non-profit designed to help Hispanic people in the U.S. pull together as a proud, unified group and overcome barriers — the most pressing of which is the effects of the pandemic.

Because the Hispanic community is so diverse, unification is, and was, an enormous challenge.

Photo credit: Hispanic Star

Keep Reading Show less

Electing Donald Trump to be president of the United States set an incredibly ugly example for the nation's youth.

We know how it's affected the national discourse of regular adults. But there's no denying the conduct of a president impacts how children around the world see the example being set for them. Every day for the past four years, children have been subjected to the behavior of a divisive figure that many of their parents chose to exalt to the most powerful office in the world.

Sure, adults can make excuses for him saying he's an "imperfect messenger" or that they "didn't vote for him to be reverend," but these are all just ways to rationalize voting for a man with zero character. What a message to send to children: Act awful and you'll be handsomely rewarded.

But what if you took away the "Trump" name and examined the character traits of him as an ordinary person? More specifically, what if your daughter came to you and said this was the kind of person she was planning to date? Well, one MAGA family found out and the results are funny, insightful and quite revealing about how we somehow hold our leaders to different and lower standards than we expect from ourselves in our day to day lives.

Keep Reading Show less

After years of advocating for racial justice and calling out police brutality and seeing little change in law enforcement and our justice system, some people are rightfully fed up. When complaints are met with inaction, protests are met with inaction, and direct action is met with inaction, maybe it's time to get specific in who needs to be held accountable for issues in law enforcement.

That's exactly what Keiajah (KJ) Brooks did at a Board of Police Commissioners meeting in her hometown of Kansas City this week. The 20-year-old used her approximately four minutes with the microphone—and with the commissioners' undivided attention—to unequivocally lay out her position to each and every one of the officials in that room.

"Fair warning, I'm not nice and I don't seek to be respectable," she began. "I'm not asking y'all for anything because y'all can't and won't be both my savior and my oppressor. I don't want reform. I want to turn this building into luxury low-cost housing. These would make some really nice apartments."

"Firstly, stop using Black children as photo opportunities, 'cause they're cute now, but in 10 years, they're Black male suspects in red shirts and khaki shorts," she said. "Eating cookies and drinking milk with children does not absolve you of your complicity in their oppression and denigration..." she added, before looking directly at the police chief and pointedly calling him out by name, "...Rick Smith."

Keep Reading Show less