With All This Talk About Sex, Let's Not Forget the Violence

Unless you've been living under a rock (and maybe even still), you know about the lewd, demeaning, and harassing comments Donald Trump has made about women. What has received far less attention, however, are his equally vile comments threatening and encouraging violence.

Here's a chronology that shows how Mr. Trump's dangerous rhetoric has not only defined a new low for Presidential elections, but how it has established a tone that others in the GOP have been reluctant to repudiate and even eager to embrace:

January 23, 2016: In the run-up to the Republican Iowa Caucus, Donald Trump proclaims, "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters." None of his Republican opponents repudiate his comments.

July 19, 2016: During the Republican National Convention, Al Baldasaro, New Hampshire state representative, Trump delegate, and trusted advisor to Mr. Trump takes the violent rhetoric even further in a TV interview, saying "Hillary Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot." To our knowledge, Mr. Trump fails to repudiate this comment, made by one of his surrogates.

August 9, 2016: Weeks after becoming the official Republican nominee for President, at a rally in Wilmington North Carolina, Mr. Trump, for all intents and purposes, encourages the assassination of his opponent for President of the United States, saying, "If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks," then adding, as the crown begins to boo, "Although the Second Amendment people -- maybe there is, I don't know." Mr. Trump never even apologizes for these comments.

September 10-11, 2016: At a conservative summit in Washington, D.C., Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin threatens a violent revolution, saying bloodshed would be "necessary" to "reclaim" the country if Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton becomes President. Again, there is no effort on the part of Mr. Trump to distance himself from any of this rhetoric coming from a prominent member of his party.

October 26, 2016: In a series of violent tweets in support of Donald Trump, former Republican Congressman and conservative talk show host Joe Walsh basically threatens armed revolution, assassination and racial violence, saying in one tweet, "On November 9th, if Trump loses, I'm grabbing my musket," and in another tweet, "3 Dallas Cops killed, 7 wounded. This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you." Again, neither Mr. Trump nor the GOP repudiates these comments.

October 31, 2016: Just eight days before the election, U.S. Senator Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, says at a campaign event, "nothing made me feel better" than seeing a magazine about guns "with a picture of Hillary Clinton on the front of it." Burr continued, "I was a little bit shocked at that -- it didn't have a bullseye on it..." Burr, under the pressure of a close race, offered a weak apology for his comments. Mr. Trump, once again, offers no criticism. In fact, he appears at a campaign event in North Carolina with Senator Burr the very next day.

While any one of the statements above would be troubling on its own, taken together they point to a pattern of deliberately using language to incite violence. We know words matter. They inspired the birth of this nation. They have also inspired the birth of political movements that brought about some of the darkest moments in our world's history. And they have certainly inspired acts of violence.

In this country we settle our political differences through peaceful discourse and at the ballot box. And suggesting a violent solution to a political problem, as Trump does, undermines the integrity of the democracy we hold dear.

There is a lot of talk about how this election is likely to prove to be one of the most important in history, and how it is a "referendum" on many important issues. Perhaps the most fundamental of all is the kind of nation we want to be, whether we are a nation that promotes and rewards hatred and violence or whether we truly believe we are better than that.

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