Spicer Condemns Violent Rhetoric After Adviser Who Said Clinton Should Be Shot Visits WH

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens at ;eft as Al Baldasaro, a New Hampshire state representative, speaks during a news conference in New York, Tuesday, May 31, 2016. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Richard Drew/AP

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said comments about President Donald Trump’s assassination were “troubling,” hours after the White House hosted a former adviser to Trump’s campaign who called for Hillary Clinton to be shot for treason.

“I think it’s troubling,” Spicer said in a press briefing Friday, in response to a question about a production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” in which a Trumpian Caesar is assassinated.

“Whether it’s that or Johnny Depp’s comments or — I mean, we’ve seen this, and frankly as far as I’m concerned, I know that the President and the First Lady weighed in on Kathy Griffin’s comments,” he continued. “I don’t know that he’s aware about the play in particular that’s going on there but it is frankly, in my belief, a little troubling, the lack of outrage that we’ve seen in some of these instances where people have said what they’ve said with respect to the President and the actions that should be taken.”

Two hours earlier, as Trump signed a law promoting accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs, New Hampshire State Rep. Al Baldasaro “was sitting in one of the first two rows in the audience” in the East Room, according to a White House pool report. Baldasaro advised the Trump campaign on veterans issues and served as a delegate for then-candidate Trump at the Republican National Convention.

Baldasaro also called for Hillary Clinton to be shot for treason during the presidential campaign, prompting him to come under Secret Service scrutiny in July. Still, Trump gave Baldasaro a shout-out during a campaign rally in New Hampshire in August, and in October, Trump answered a question from Baldasaro during a campaign event.

Asked later in the press briefing how he could condemn Depp and Griffin the same day the White House invited Baldasaro to an event, Spicer seemed unable to recall the one-time Trump adviser.

“Obviously, as I mentioned, I make it very clear, I condemn all acts of violence,” Spicer said. “I don’t believe that any — and the President has said this as well — that anybody who goes out and tries to highlight those kind of actions should not be welcome. I’m not aware of the comments he made but again, I’ll say it right now. I don’t think that we should be resorting to that kind of language with respect to anybody in our country.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

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