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Wait, Was That Hillary Clinton’s Head on a Pike at Trump’s Immigration Speech?

No one at this site has been shy about observing the media’s gradual (or not-so-gradual) descent into a new reality in which things seem normal that really shouldn’t, a reality brought to us by the candidacy of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. As keenly aware as I’ve been of these developments since day one of Trump’s campaign, when he descended that escalator and normalized calling undocumented Mexican immigrants “rapists,” even I had a frog-in-the-pot moment of shock during Wednesday night’s Donald Trump speech on immigration.

I’ve watched a lot of Donald Trump speeches, thanks especially to MSNBC’s constant live, often uncritical airings of them, and so I should be accustomed to scenes like Trump’s usual call-and-response about the wall. but this one had a little something extra:

Wait, what? Was that Hillary Clinton’s bloodied head on a pike? The image was so fleeting, I though I must have imagined or misinterpreted it, but no, it was real:


Now, we all remember the ugliness in 2008 that led Senator John McCain to put the brakes on a supporter who thought then-Sen. Obama was “an Arab,” but Trump crossed and burned that bridge almost exactly a year ago when a Trump supporter called now-President Obama a Muslim, and Trump just laughed it off:

McCain’s reaction now seems almost quaint in its decency, while Trump has escalated far beyond passive encouragement. After the head on a pike moment, which I barely registered at the time because I was sure I’d imagined it, this moment struck me as one that would have been a YUGE deal if it hadn’t been preceded several weeks by a joke about assassinating his opponent:

Within ICE I am going to create a new special deportation task force focused on identifying and quickly removing the most dangerous criminal illegal immigrants in America who have evaded justice just like Hillary Clinton has evaded justice, OK?

Maybe they’ll be able to deport her.

In the context of the Trump campaign, it hardly seems worth mentioning, but note the big key difference between Trump and McCain, and even Trump now and Trump a year ago. When McCain hears his supporter’s deranged view, there’s a look of shocked recognition, and even in that clip from last September, Trump at least appears to be made laughingly uncomfortable by his fan’s slanders. Now, Trump is whipping it up and drinking it in.

This is already dangerous, but anyone who stands by and acts as if this is normal is going to end up an accessory to something terrible.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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