Three months before one of the deadliest public mass shootings in U.S. history, allegedly driven in part by white nationalism, President Trump asked a Florida audience how to stop migrants from crossing into the United States.
“How do you stop these people? You can’t, there’s —” Trump said, cutting himself off as a rally attendee yelled back, “Shoot them.”
Trump paused and smirked, before responding, “That’s only in the Panhandle can you get away with that statement.” The crowd cheered for nearly 10 seconds before Trump continued.
As Democrats again clamor to change gun laws after at least 31 people were killed over 13 hours over the weekend, Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric is again coming under scrutiny following an uptick in domestic terrorism arrests, most involving some form of white supremacy. This increase has mirrored a global trend.
On Monday, Trump condemned white supremacy, something he has downplayed in the past. It’s reminiscent of a pattern he exhibits when asked to condemn racist and violent acts by audience members at his rallies.
Trump was asked last week if he would stop Cincinnati rallygoers if they started “send her back” chants like the ones that broke out last month in North Carolina. There, he let the chants go on unimpeded, but the next day said he did not like them.
“If they do the chant, we’ll have to see what happens,” Trump said Thursday before his Ohio rally. “I don’t know that you can stop people.”