SiriusXM Radio on Tuesday suspended talk show host Glenn Beck after Beck spoke with a guest who expressed hope that a "patriot will step up" to remove Donald Trump from office, should he win the presidency.
The satellite station suspended Beck's program for the coming week and implied that the future of the show may be in doubt, based on comments from Beck that have been interpreted as an endorsement of anti-Trump violence should the presumptive Republican nominee win in November.
The controversy erupted when Beck agreed with conservative author Brad Thor, a frequent guest, as he fretted about the danger Trump poses to democratic institutions.
"This could bring down incredible heat on me, because I’m about to suggest something very bad. It is a hypothetical I am going to ask as a thriller writer,” Thor said. "With the feckless, spineless Congress we have, who will stand in the way of Donald Trump overstepping his constitutional authority as president? If Congress won’t remove him from office, what patriot will step up and do that if he oversteps his mandate as president, his constitutional granted authority as president?"
"I would agree with you on that," Beck said.
The comments were irresponsible, according to SiriusXM.
"SiriusXM encourages a diversity of discourse and opinion on our talk programs," reads a statement from the company. "However, comments recently made by a guest on the independently produced Glenn Beck Program, in our judgement, may be reasonably construed by some to have been advocating harm against an individual currently running for office, which we cannot and will not condone."
"For that reason, we have suspended The Glenn Beck Program from our Patriot channel for the coming week and are evaluating its place in our lineup going forward," the statement continues. "SiriusXM is committed to a spirited, robust, yet responsible political conversation and believes this action reflects those values."
Beck's show is independently produced and airs on the channel SiriusXM Patriot. A spokesperson for Beck told Politico that the suspension coincided with a previously scheduled vacation for Beck. Beck's website on Tuesday republished an excoriating article by the conservative pundit Erick Erickson titled "SiriusXM Proves To Be Run By Cowards." The article originally appeared on The Resurgent, Erickson's website.
Thor, meanwhile, denied in a lengthy Facebook post on Tuesday that he'd made a direct threat against Trump. Rather, Thor said, he'd simply started a conversation about a what-if scenario involving an autocrat in the White House.
"Clearly establishing that I was putting my thriller writer hat on and positing a hypothetical scenario, I asked what would happen if Donald Trump did turn out to be an American caudillo? What if he suspended the Constitution and a cowed Congress was too afraid to move against him -- i.e. impeachment?" Thor wrote. "In such a scenario, where the American president had become a full-on dictator, a tyrant, I asked what patriot would step forward to help remove him from office? Never once did I suggest assassination, but sadly, that’s where some have taken it."
Beck left Fox News under acrimonious circumstances in 2011. His show scored high ratings, but also suffered when advertisers bolted from his program after he made controversial comments about President Barack Obama.
You can hear Beck's interview with Thor below.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story included a tweet purportedly written by Donald Trump. In fact, the tweet was not from Trump's Twitter account. We regret the error.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.