Donald Trump Says He Could 'Shoot Somebody' & Not Lose Voters & The Other Candidates' Responses Are The Only Upside
As always, Donald Trump seems to feel very confident in his lead as Iowa voters head into the caucuses in just about a week. At a campaign rally in Sioux Center, Iowa, on Saturday, Trump proudly declared that he could "shoot somebody" and he wouldn't lose votes for it. It's the latest outrageous comment from the man who has previously joked about killing journalists — the same man who vows to "make America great again" — and even his fellow candidates don't seem the least bit surprised.
Boasting about the loyalty of his supporters, Trump told the crowd, "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters." As he spoke, he even gestured as if he were pulling a trigger. His comment may not have been meant seriously, but it's a crude joke for a country that has recently been plagued by mass shootings and a seemingly unproductive debate over gun control. After the rally, Trump refused to clarify the comment for the press.
Outrageous as it may be, Trump's comment shouldn't have seemed completely unexpected. His campaign has been marked by Trump's affinity for political incorrectness and shock value. For instance, Trump jokingly seemed to reconsider whether or not he would kill journalists. (Fortunately, he ultimately settled on "never" killing them.)
Even fellow GOP candidate Marco Rubio can't feign surprise over Trump's latest comment. When a reporter asked Rubio about Trump's comment after Rubio held a town hall event elsewhere in Iowa, Rubio said, "It's probably not a good idea for him to do that and I would not recommend that he do it, but you know ... that's Donald."
Rubio's joke at Trump's expense points out the sad truth that is all too real at this point in the race for the White House: We have come to expect these sorts of unrefined, inappropriate jokes from Trump in his public addresses. Fighting political correctness is one thing when it's meant to cut through the useless conversation that prevents Washington from getting anything done — but that's not what Trump was doing when he joked about shooting people on Saturday. Rather, he seemed to be bragging.
Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz also reacted to Trump's comment on Saturday. Bush, speaking to reporters in New Hampshire, hinted that if Trump were to make good on shooting someone, then he wouldn't be the GOP's biggest problem anymore. "Felons probably can't run for president — I'm just saying," Bush said. Back in Iowa, Cruz played it safe by not giving into the spectacle that Trump had created, but he still managed to respond. "I will let Donald speak for himself," Cruz said. "I can say that I have no intention of shooting anybody in this campaign."
Fortunately, Trump probably won't have to shoot anybody to test how strong his support in Iowa actually is. The ever-important Iowa caucus will do that for him on February 1. As of Sunday, Real Clear Politics measured that Trump was in the lead in Iowa by at least five points.