“If she gets into government, I’ll do everything in my power to take her out of power,” said Dan Bowman, speaking to a Wall Street Journal reporter at a Trump rally in Cincinnati on Thursday.
“If I have to be a patriot, I will,” he said.
Asked what he meant by that, Bowman smiled coyly before saying, “Take it any way you want to take it.”
“That sounds like a threat,” the reporter said, to which Bowman responded, “What do you think a patriot is?”
A spokeswoman for the Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Bowman’s remarks. Both Clinton and Trump receive protection from the Secret Service.
The interview with Bowman ― a 50-year-old contractor who was also quoted in a recent Boston Globe story, saying that Clinton “should be in prison or shot” ― offers a glimpse into how some of Trump’s most ardent supporters are interpreting the nominee’s paranoid and incendiary accusations.
Trump has said, among other things, that a Clinton victory would imperil the future of the nation, and that a “global power structure” is working to corrupt the electoral system and ensure her victory in November.
“This is not simply another four-year election,” Trump said in an apocalyptic speech last week in West Palm Beach, Florida. “This is a crossroads in the history of our civilization that will determine whether or not we the people reclaim control over our government.”
Despite what Trump has said, there’s no reason to believe that the election is actually going to be “rigged” or the presidency “stolen.” But his words are dangerous all the same, since people who take them at face value, like Bowman evidently has, could very well reach the conclusion that no action is too extreme.
Trump himself seemed to imply in August that his supporters could use their guns to resist a Clinton presidency.
“If she gets to pick her judges ― nothing you can do, folks,” Trump said at a rally in Wilmington, North Carolina. “Although, the Second Amendment people. Maybe there is. I don’t know.”
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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.