Opinion writer

Hillary Clinton meets with voters in Davie, Fla., on Tuesday. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Donald Trump lies about everything — especially himself, as The Post reported in an examination of a 2007 deposition. (“Trump had misstated sales at his condo buildings. Inflated the price of membership at one of his golf clubs. Overstated the depth of his past debts and the number of his employees. … Trump’s falsehoods were unstrategic — needless, highly specific, easy to disprove. When caught, Trump sometimes blamed others for the error or explained that the untrue thing really was true, in his mind, because he saw the situation more positively than others did.”) It’s entirely possible he lies so much that he no longer can distinguish between what he has made up and what is “real,” if there is room for such a concept. His family and closest aides are enablers at this point, refusing to see Trump for what he is.

Trump insults nearly every subset of Americans. He lacks rudimentary knowledge of our government and critical policies. But are Republicans really going to persist in running a candidate for president whose campaign the Secret Service had to speak to multiple times concerning language that can be taken as a call for violence? CNN reported:

A US Secret Service official confirms to CNN that the USSS has spoken to the Trump campaign regarding his Second Amendment comments. “There has been more than one conversation” on the topic, the official told CNN. The campaign told USSS Donald Trump did not intend to incite violence.

Trump denies the conversation(s) took place. A 13-year veteran of the Secret Service observed on National Public Radio: “I mean there’s almost a duty of care here by the Secret Service. You know, they have to ensure the totality of the circumstance is understood by all parties involved. They’ll advise both the Trump and Clinton campaigns that their words are powerful, and we can’t have that type of language misconstrued.”

It is peculiar in the extreme  — unprecedented, according to the former agent — for a candidate for president to prompt concern about inciting violence against his opponent. Even if not intentional, Trump is so cavalier and/or inarticulate as to invite sincere concern about his words’ effect on his loyalists. But then, in his word salad of half-sentences and disconnected thoughts, it is often hard to figure out what in the world he is trying to say. (On the difference between coal from the United States and China, he announced, “We have a very, very small planet compared to the universe, right? And that stuff is going up and they’re not cleaning it.” What?!?)

What we do know is that Trump has repeatedly egged on his crowds and boasted that he would have hit this or that protester in the face. His henchman Roger Stone warned of “days of rage” at the convention if the nomination didn’t go to Trump. This is the language of thugs and fascistic pretenders who seek to discredit and undermine democracy itself.

Hillary Clinton was certainly entitled to rub it in. At an event on Wednesday, she told the crowd in Iowa, “Words matter, my friends, and if you are running to be president or if you are president of the United States, words can have tremendous consequences.” She continued, “Yesterday, we witnessed the latest in a long line of casual comments from Donald Trump that crossed the line. His casual cruelty to a Gold Star family, his casual suggestion that more countries should have nuclear weapons, and now his casual inciting of violence.” She concluded, “Every single one of these incidents shows us that Donald Trump simply does not have the temperament to be president and commander in chief of the United States.” Can anyone really take issue with that?

Well, we passed “unfit for office” months ago, but Republicans might want to consider whether Trump’s Second Amendment threat is the last, best chance to dump him. Neither House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) nor Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) responded to a request for comment. They might consider coming out en masse against Trump. At a time when many ordinary Republicans are decamping from Trump’s camp, GOP “leaders” seem paralyzed by indecision. They risk a real calamity (political and, God forbid, otherwise) if they remain silent. But mostly they look lost, irresponsible and blinded by partisanship.

Clinton is playing the latest incident for all that it’s worth. She commended Republicans for standing up to Trump. “I am humbled and moved by the Republicans who are willing to stand up and say Donald Trump doesn’t represent their values, not only as Republicans but as Americans,” she said. “I have to tell you, I feel that same sense of responsibility. We may not agree on everything, but this is not a normal election. And I will work hard for the next three months to earn the support of anyone willing to put our country first.” So why won’t more elected Republicans?