It happens at a lot of Trump rallies: The president encourages violence.
It happened again Wednesday night, when he spoke to a crowd in Panama City Beach, Florida, an area hit by Hurricane Michael last October. He was talking about immigration, stumping for his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and musing on how to stop “these people.”
He reiterated one of his new favorite talking points that “other countries” shoot people trying to cross their borders, but the U.S. would never do that.
"And don't forget, we don't let them and we can't let them [use weapons. We can't. Other countries do. We can't. I would never do that. But how do you stop these people?" the president said.
Someone in the audience shouted: "Shoot them!"
Trump did a double-take, then said, smiling: "That's only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement.”
The crowd erupted into laughter.
"Only in the Panhandle!"
Trump has, in the past, stopped just short of calling for U.S. military to shoot at unarmed immigrants. In November, Trump said that the military would consider stones and rocks as firearms, which many interpreted to mean he believed troops should shoot at immigrants throwing rocks.
“I will tell you, anybody throwing stones, rocks, like they did to Mexico and the Mexican military, Mexican police, where they badly hurt police and soldiers of Mexico, we will consider that a firearm,” Trump said in November.
Trump clarified the following day that he just meant they would be “arrested for a long time.”
“They do that with us, they’re going to be arrested, there are going to be problems,” Trump said. “I didn’t say shoot. I didn’t say shoot. But they do that with us, they are going to be arrested for a long time.”
He has, however, outright called for violence against protesters at his rallies.
"If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously, OK? Just knock the hell ... I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise," Trump said on Feb. 1, 2016.
Cover: President Trump acknowledges the crowd at the end of his rally in Panama City Beach, Fla., Wednesday, May 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)