The two-word interruption of President Donald Trump‘s speech at a Florida rally Wednesday night was well received by the crowd, who laughed and cheered at the violent joke. The president laughed with them.
The unknown rally-goer’s shouted response was to a hypothetical question posed by the president while he discussed immigration.
“Don’t forget we don’t let them and we can’t let them use weapons, we can’t,” Trump said, referring to undocumented immigrants. “Other countries do, we can’t, I would never do it. But how do we stop these people?”
That’s when an audience member was compelled to yell: “Shoot them!”
Trump scoffed, shook his head and paused before adding fuel to the fire. “That’s only in the panhandle you can get away with that statement,” he joked, causing the crowd to erupt in more cheers. “Only in the panhandle.”
Watch the video below:
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) May 9, 2019
The outburst was difficult to hear in the cable news recording of the rally. But one audience member confirmed the dialogue with an ABC News reporter. “They screamed shoot ’em,” she said, adding, “They were referring to the immigrants.”
Watch the video below:
“They screamed shoot em’ … They were referring to the immigrants.”
One Trump supporter tells me she heard someone in the crowd shout “shoot em’”.
— Rachel Scott (@rachelvscott) May 9, 2019
While the audience laughed at the insinuation of shooting migrants at the border Wednesday night, the suggestion was made by the president not too long ago.
Days before the November 2018 midterms, Trump suggested that migrants could be shot at the border if they throw rocks.
“They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back,” the president told reporters in November, according to USA Today. “I told them to consider it a rifle. When they throw rocks like what they did to the Mexican military and police I say consider it a rifle.”
He later added that rocks should be treated as firearms “because there’s not much difference when you get hit in the face with a rock.”
After reporters and pundits pointed out that the president was implying that border patrol could shoot migrants, he backtracked.
“They won’t have to fire,” Trump said the next day. “What I don’t want is I don’t want these people throwing rocks. They do that with us, they’re going to be arrested.”