Broadway star Carole Cook is being criticized for remarks to paparazzi over the weekend suggesting President Trump should be assassinated.
Cook, 94, and her husband were leaving a restaurant in West Hollywood on Sunday night when they were approached by a photographer from celebrity news site TMZ, who asked if she had heard of a recent incident at “Frozen,” the Broadway musical. During a curtain call at that show last Wednesday, an audience member displayed a large “Trump 2020″ banner and waved it at the cast.
“Is that a proper venue for a Trumper to bring a banner to?” the photographer asked.
“My answer to that is,” Cook said, “where is John Wilkes Booth when you need him? Right?”
Booth, of course, was infamous for assassinating President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in 1865.
In the video, the photographer appeared to laugh at Cook’s response, then confirmed he knew who Booth was.
“Thank you, darling,” Cook said.
“He killed [a] president,” chimed in Cook’s husband, Tom Troupe.
“Don’t say that,” Cook admonished her husband, before lowering her voice and turning back to the photographer. “They’ll get me for that.”
Another person off camera could be heard asking: “So we need to kill President Trump?”
Troupe laughed, then said in a low voice: “Someone should.”
“Why not?” Cook added.
Moments later, Cook seemed to wonder rhetorically if saying such things would get her “in trouble.”
“Will I be on an enemies’ list? My God, I hope so,” Cook said. “Just keep me out of jail. Or maybe not.”
The U.S. Secret Service said Monday it was aware of Cook’s comments, though it did not say whether they rose to the level of a threat.
“While we do not confirm or comment on the absence or existence of specific investigations, we can say that we investigate all threats against the President,” Secret Service spokesman Mason Brayman said in an email.
Many people criticized Cook for her remarks, including former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.
” ‘You have the right to remain silent.’ These are the lines this actress may need to memorize!” Huckabee tweeted Monday. “This is not just sick-it’s a crime.”
The “Frozen” incident the photographers mentioned took place last Wednesday, when an audience member waved a “Trump 2020″ banner at the cast during the show’s curtain call. Actor Timothy Hughes snatched up the banner and tossed it behind him.
“What does it say about our country and politics when a man at the show tonight felt the need to protest Disney’s Frozen on Broadway with a pro Trump flag??” Hughes wrote on Instagram later, along with video of the incident. “How frightening is it that our show’s messages of love, acceptance, and diversity have become the opposition to supporting Trump?”
Hughes said he stood by his actions.
“The curtain call is a thank you between actors and audience, a final connection to end a shared experience,” he wrote. “I will not apologize for how I responded to the disrespectful man trying to interrupt this moment with a pathetic political platform. Not at our show! Not in front of my beautiful, diverse, talented cast at @frozenbroadway.”
There have been a handful of clashes between Trump supporters and critics at theater productions in the past two years. Shortly after the 2016 election, Vice President-elect Mike Pence attended a showing of “Hamilton,” where he was booed by the audience. Afterward, the cast of “Hamilton” read aloud a message to Pence during the curtain call, urging him to be mindful of “the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir.” The following day, Trump demanded the cast apologize to Pence.
Last June, a pro-Trump protester was arrested after rushing the stage at a “Shakespeare in the Park” production of “Julius Caesar” in New York.