President Donald Trump’s recent comments about his supporters raised red flags for Sen. Mazzie Hirono (D-Hawaii), who saw the remarks as possibly inciting violence.
“You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. Okay?” Trump said in an interview with Breitbart published Wednesday.
“I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”
Hirono, an outspoken critic of Trump, told Chis Hayes on MSNBC Thursday night that the comments were “really dangerous.”
“What is that but a strong message inducing people to hurt others, this is not the kind of language that the president of the United States should be employing,” she said. “Words matter.”
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— All In with Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) March 15, 2019
“I think it’s more than an implicit threat,” Hirono added. “It sounds very much to me that encouraging them. Encouraging them to engage in something that’s probably illegal, such as assaulting people and behaving in a dangerous way, that sounds like a threat to me. I think it’s appalling.”
As IJR previously reported, Trump’s interview this week isn’t the first time he’s made comments that raised eyebrows and concerns from critics about their implications.
Many of the concerns came during Trump’s campaign, where he made multiple encouraging comments about the violent outbursts at his and other candidate’s campaign events. At a particular March 2016 campaign rally, Trump praised his supporters for trying to hit protesters.
“He was swinging, he was hitting people and the audience hit back and that’s what we need a little bit more of,” he said.
More recently, he praised Rep. Greg Gianforte for assaulting a reporter. “Any guy that can do a body-slam … is my guy,” he said at an October campaign event.