On Monday, Donald Trump delivered an unusually focused speech about the economy that almost sounded like he was possessed by Mitt Romney. For one day, Trump acted like the quasi-establishment candidate who conservative voters hoped would eventually surface on the campaign trail.
Then Tuesday saw Trump re-embrace his former bombastic persona — and then some — during a Wilmington, North Carolina rally. Once Trump uttered his made-up claim that Clinton wants to abolish gun rights, disaster arrived. He hinted that the “2nd Amendment people” could do something to stop Hillary Clinton (and perhaps her future Supreme Court nominees). And then a full day of concentrated progress devolved into an utter mess while observers reacted with outrage and utter shock. Many interpreted his words as saying only guns can halt Clinton.
The Clinton campaign swiftly branded Trump’s words as “dangerous.” Gabby Giffords, whose life has been forever affected by gun violence, steadfastly agreed, and the reactions grew even more serious. TIME magazine spoke to a former top official of the Secret Service, who characterized Trump’s words as a “veiled threat” against the Democratic nominee: “Look, this guy is coming pretty close to the edge here.” And Congressman Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-California) tweeted that the Secret Service “must investigate #TrumpThreat.”
As for the Secret Service itself, word came down that it is “aware” of Trump’s remarks about “2nd Amendment people” and Clinton.
This wasn’t the only federal agency to come up in this discussion. Former CIA Chief Michael Hayden told CNN, “If someone else had said that outside the hall, he’d be in the back of a police wagon now, with the Secret Service questioning him.” And some critics called for the FBI to investigate the wayward Republican nominee.
Let’s be honest, though — this isn’t likely to happen. But if we’re looking for context, activist DeRay Mckesson (who recently sued Baton Rouge for arresting him during a Black Lives Matter protest) tweeted that the FBI already visited him before he attended the Democratic convention. And Mckesson believes that if he made a “2nd Amendment” remark like Trump did, the FBI would knock on his door without hesitation.