SirusXM satellite radio has suspended conservative talk show host Glenn Beck for comments he made last week that have been interpreted as potentially advocating the harm of presumptive Republican presidential nominee and real estate mogul Donald Trump.
During a May 25 interview on “The Glenn Beck Program,” Beck agreed with a comment made by New York Times bestselling thriller author Brad Thor:
“I am about to suggest something very bad,” 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, if, he oversteps his mandate as president, his constitutional-granted authority, I should say, as president,” Thor said, according to CNN. “If he oversteps that, how do we get him out of office? And I don’t think there is a legal means available. I think it will be a terrible, terrible position the American people will be in to get Trump out of office because you won’t be able to do it through Congress.”
“I would agree with you on that,” Beck responded.
The comments begin at the 5-minute mark below.
The comments “may be reasonably construed by some to have been advocating harm against an individual currently running for office,” SiriusXM said in a statement, Associated Press reported.
Some have taken Thor’s quote as a call for the assassination of Trump. Drudge Report ran a headline about the incident, which included the phrase “taking out Trump,” CNN reported. As a result, SirusXM has suspended Beck for a week.
On Twitter, Thor wrote that he was misinterpreted and that his quotes were taken out of context.
He repeated this in a statement to the Associated Press on Tuesday.
“[Beck and I] were discussing a speculative future America under a dictator,” Thor said. “Safeguarding the Republic against a dictatorship is a topic of conversation that dates back to the Founders. If we had to unseat a president without the backing of the Congress, we would need a patriot along the lines of George Washington to lead the country from tyranny back to liberty.”
Beck hasn’t responded to the situation, but his show’s general manager, Dom Theodore, wrote in a statement posted to Beck’s website:
As every listener of the show knows, Glenn has never — and will never — advocate violence. It wasn’t long ago that he was criticized by some for advocating peace during the Bundy Ranch saga. Glenn is a firm believer in Martin Luther King’s approach to affecting change, not Malcolm X’s
This isn’t the first time the two have discussed an attempt on Trump’s life. During a segment of “The Glenn Beck Program” earlier this month, after calling Black Lives Matter supporters “morons,” Thor said there will be “unprecedented assassination attempts” against Trump. “There are going to be attempts on his life,” Thor said. “I pray to God it doesn’t happen, but the way this country is right now, I don’t know how it doesn’t happen.”
Beck responded, “I hope not.”
While he has never advocated violence, the conservative host has recently been vocal about his staunch opposition to Trump.
“I am the only one practically … in radio … who comes out and tells you what all of us know off-air,” Beck said in January. “I’m telling you right now, this is a gigantic mistake. If this country chooses Donald Trump, you are going to end up, I truly believe, with a monster much, much worse than anything that Barack Obama could have dreamt.”
Susan Wright, a columnist for Red State, opined that the quote has been misinterpreted and SiriusXM was pressured to suspend Beck following social media outrage. She wrote:
How much of that social media outrage by the gilded toad’s tadpoles had an effect on the decision by SiriusXM and their actions against Beck? No idea, but I’m willing to bet they had at least some part in creating the mountain out of that particular molehill.
This is the point where I ask if there’s anyone else who gets the slightest sense of unease with “punishing” journalists, writers, pundits, or talk show hosts over what amounts to perceived threats, when the evidence at hand is ambiguous, at best?
As of now, it is unclear if Beck’s show will return. SiriusXM says it is “evaluating” his program’s place in its lineup.