After his remark that only “Second Amendment people” might be able to stop Hillary Clinton once she has made her picks for the Supreme Court, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump didn’t seem to have a friend in the world, not a single Republican, Democrat, or other homo sapien who failed to take the plain meaning of his quote, or who would entertain his campaign’s absurd attempts to spin the remark. Then, an MSNBC liberal tried to help him out.
If you’ve ever wondered why it can really suck to be a liberal, look no further than MSNBC liberal Steve Kornacki‘s straight-faced devil’s advocate treatment of Trump’s remark, in which he argues that maybe, because Trump is such a mental trainwreck, maybe he really did mean to say something he clearly did not say. After reading the Trump campaign’s assertion that Trump was just talking about gun rights advocates voting against Hillary, Kornacki pointed out that the meanings of the actual words Trump said contradict that, but then went on to say this:
That statement doesn’t quite track with what Trump actually said, though, since Trump was talking about what could happen after the election. But, let’s be honest here, Donald Trump is a rambling and imprecise speaker. Maybe that is what he was trying to say. He makes shorthand references in his speeches all the time, he jumps around erratically, starts thoughts, leaves them, trails off, doesn’t finish, lots of times leaves people scratching their heads. So maybe it is possible he was trying to spit out some kind of platitude about the power of Second Amendment advocates and it just came out in that weird, nonsensical way.
No, Steve, it’s not possible. It’s not possible just based on what you already said, but it’s even more not possible if you let Trump’s remarks play out a little bit longer than everyone else is playing them. As he’s making the remark, you can hear members of the audience egging him on (one drawls “Not in the Carlolinas!”), and right after he says “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people––maybe there is, I dunno,” he adds a few more points of clarification:
But I’ll tell you what, that will be a horrible day. If Hillary gets to put her judges… right now, we’re tied.
So, if Trump is talking about NRA people voting against Hillary or politically mobilizing, why will that be a “horrible day?” And if the plain English meaning of his words to that point still have you wondering if he means actions before or after Hillary has won, his remark that “right now, we’re tied” removes any and all doubt. When Trump says “pick her judges,” he means nominate judges that will then be confirmed by a Democratic senate. The most charitable interpretation is that Trump is merely recognizing the possibility of an assassination, rather than directly encouraging one. Who will rid us of these meddlesome judges?
What Kornacki is doing is that most irritating of liberal tendencies to argue against themselves, because they think it’s smart to think of the best argument the opposition can think of, and then mitigate it, to grant their premise and still win the argument, but all they really do is give their opponents a fallback. Trump obviously won’t use this one, but someone like a Paul Ryan, who wants an excuse not to cut Trump free but still has to maintain a pretense of decency, could sure use this argument.
Trump said what he said, and I don’t remember all this Devil’s Advocating when it was Hilary Clinton being pilloried for bringing up an assassination.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.