Trump’s Wink Wink to ‘Second Amendment People’

by Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times

August 9, 2016

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin got assassinated.

His right-wing opponents just kept delegitimizing him as a “traitor” and “a Nazi” for wanting to make peace with the Palestinians and give back part of the Land of Israel. Of course, all is fair in politics, right? And they had God on their side, right? They weren’t actually telling anyone to assassinate Rabin. That would be horrible.

But there are always people down the line who don’t hear the caveats. They just hear the big message: The man is illegitimate, the man is a threat to the nation, the man is the equivalent of a Nazi war criminal. Well, you know what we do with people like that, don’t you? We kill them.

And that’s what the Jewish extremist Yigal Amir did to Rabin. Why not? He thought he had permission from a whole segment of Israel’s political class.

In September, I wrote a column warning that Donald Trump’s language toward immigrants could end up inciting just this kind of violence. I never in my wildest dreams, though, thought he’d actually—in his usual coy, twisted way—suggest that Hillary Clinton was so intent on taking away the Second Amendment right to bear arms that maybe Second Amendment enthusiasts could do something to stop her. Exactly what? Oh, Trump left that hanging.

“Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment,” Trump said at a rally in Wilmington NC, on Tuesday. “By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

Of course Trump’s handlers, recognizing just how incendiary were his words, immediately denied that he was suggesting that gun owners do anything harmful toward Clinton. Oh my God, never. Trump, they insisted, was just referring to the “power of unification.” You know those Second Amendment people, they just love to get on buses and vote together.

But that is not what he said. What he said was ambiguous—slightly menacing, but with just enough plausible deniability that, of course, he was not suggesting an assassination. Again, it’s just like the Rabin story. When I wrote about this issue back in the fall it was to urge readers to see the new movie Rabin: The Last Day, by the Israeli director Amos Gitai, timed for the 20th anniversary of Rabin’s assassination.

As The Times’s Isabel Kershner reported from Israel when the film was released, it “is unambiguous about the forces it holds responsible”—the extremist rabbis and militant settlers who branded Rabin a traitor, the right-wing politicians who rode the “wave of toxic incitement against Mr. Rabin as they campaigned against the Oslo accords,” and the security services that failed to heed the warnings that the incitement could get out of hand.

“Mr. Rabin is almost invisible in the first two hours of the film,” she reported. “Benjamin Netanyahu, the opposition leader at the time, is shown in now-infamous historical footage addressing a feverish right-wing rally from a balcony in Jerusalem’s Zion Square, as protesters below shouted for the death of Rabin—the ‘traitor’—and held up photomontage posters of him dressed in an SS uniform.”

Mr. Netanyahu, now prime minister, insisted he never saw the posters or heard the curses.

I am sure that is what Trump’s supporters will say, too. But Trump knows what he is doing, and it is so dangerous in today’s world. In the last year we have seen a spate of lone-wolf acts of terrorism in America and Europe by men and women living on the fringes of society, some with petty criminal records, often with psychological problems, often described as “loners,” and almost always deeply immersed in fringe jihadist social networks that heat them up. They hear the signal in the noise. They hear the inspiration and the permission to do God’s work. They are not cooled by unfinished sentences.

After all, an informal Trump adviser on veteran affairs, Al Baldasaro, a Republican state representative from New Hampshire, already declared that Clinton should be “shot for treason” for her handling of the Benghazi terrorist attack.

During the Republican convention, with its repeated chants about Clinton of “lock her up,” a US-based columnist for Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, Chemi Shalev, wrote: “Like the extreme right in Israel, many Republicans conveniently ignore the fact that words can kill. There are enough people with a tendency for violence that cannot distinguish between political stagecraft and practical exhortations to rescue the country by any available means. If anyone has doubts, they could use a short session with Yigal Amir, Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin, who was inspired by the rabid rhetoric hurled at the Israeli prime minister in the wake of the Oslo accords.”

People are playing with fire here, and there is no bigger flamethrower than Donald Trump. Forget politics; he is a disgusting human being. His children should be ashamed of him. I only pray that he is not simply defeated, but that he loses all 50 states so that the message goes out across the land—unambiguously, loud and clear: The likes of you should never come this way again.


Thomas L. Friedman is an American journalist and author who has won the Pulitzer Prize three times, and currently writes a weekly column for The New York Times. Friedman has written extensively on foreign affairs, global trade, the Middle East, globalization, and environmental issues.



Groove of the Day

Listen to Smith and Pyle performing “I Wish You Were Dead”


Weather Report

89° Partly Cloudy and Rain


3 Responses to “wink-wink”

  1. 1 matt
    August 12, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    This “author”, and you for reposting this article, are painting with a really broad brush here, implying that those pesky “Second Amendment People” are just mindless assassins waiting for some idiot to suggest they run out and kill someone who disagrees with their views on the subject of gun ownership. Shame on both of you, Dan!

  2. August 12, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    “Author?” Shame on me?

    It is news when someone as respected as Tom Friedman writes an editorial that Donald Trump’s “sarcasm” about political assassination is irresponsible and dangerous and goes too far. It is a valid thing to be reminded that similar “jokes” fueled the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and destroyed any hope of peace in the Middle East for at least a generation.

    In the wake of mass shootings in our schools, nightclubs, and movie theaters, who can claim that murderous extremists and unhinged people do not camouflage themselves as “Second Amendment People?” Guns are abused by someone on an almost daily basis in America.

    Look, I never said anything. Trump did. I rely as much as anyone on Second Amendment rights and protections. Unlike someone who cowers in his/her house over imaginary threats, rattlesnakes are a real danger here at Estrella Vista.

    Donald Trump did us all a disservice with his offhand “joke” about violence, which wasn’t offhand or funny at all. The man is dangerous and needs to be rejected as a serious contender for President.

  3. 3 Erik Roth
    August 12, 2016 at 6:39 pm


    I have absolutely no respect for Thomas “give war a chance” Friedman, but in this column he is (and you are by posting and in reply) right on.

    If Friedman cared to elevate his point to the level it needs to be made, instead of focusing solely through his Israeli bias, he could have mentioned how both Yasser Arafat and Anwar Sadat met a similar fate of assassination by political fanatics.

    Now our country has suffered from such, and damnably has been guilty of committing the same. Donald Trump is spewing his vicious venom overtly, while the CIA has acted so, repeatedly and effectively, in secret.
    Consider Hillary Clinton’s laughing reaction to the killing of Muammar Gaddafi: “We came, we saw, he died.”
    What goes around comes around.

    Lookout for the inevitable blowback.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: