One of the unfortunate byproducts of our nation’s current political divide is that extremists on both sides sometimes take the adversarial nature of the divide too seriously — particularly with regard to the opposition against President Donald Trump — and feel compelled to lash out against Trump, his family, his associates and his supporters with threats of death and violence.
Even more unfortunate is the fact that such threats of death and violence against the president — even when made in jest — must be checked out by the U.S. Secret Service to determine if the threats are serious or not, a rather tedious and time-consuming process that nevertheless must take place.
Comedic actor Tom Arnold recently received just such a visit from a pair of Secret Service agents after he had posted a couple of tweets on Oct. 19 that challenged Trump to a physical fight — one that would have a rather bloody conclusion — that some people perceived as a direct threat of violence against the president.
Following a rally in Montana during which Trump had jokingly referenced a 2017 incident in which Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte body-slammed a mouthy liberal reporter, Arnold angrily tweeted, “I say put up or shut up @realDonaldTrump Me vs You. For America. First body slam wins. Any Rally. Any Time. Between now & the midterms.”
— Tom Arnold (@TomArnold) October 19, 2018
That tweet was soon followed by another, since-deleted tweet which referenced leftist comedian Kathy Griffin’s Trump beheading photo-shoot and said, “Next time Kathy won’t be holding his fake head!”
As it turned out, those tweets earned a visit from a pair of Secret Service agents to Arnold’s home on Oct. 25 for a meeting that was recorded on Arnold’s home security cameras. Leftist media outlet Mother Jones obtained that nearly hour-long video and have since posted small portions of it online.
It is worth noting that despite all of Arnold’s bravado and tough-guy persona — at least with regard to Trump — the actor was exceptionally courteous and respectful to the two agents who paid him a visit for a discussion about his social media messages.
Arnold was no doubt joking when he posted the tweets — the agents pretty much already knew that — so the primary concern of the conversation was less about how much of a threat Arnold himself actually posed to the president, and instead seemed more focused on the potential threats against the president that could be carried out by Arnold’s followers, who may have been incited to act out by Arnold’s tweets.
One of the agents said, “We’re not the First Amendment police … You’re free to say whatever you want to say, within certain boundaries … In your type of case, what we’re concerned with a lot, too, is the audience it can reach, that it could incite somebody to do something.”
“You see a lot of times when we’ve had previous attempts on the president’s life, they got motivated by somebody,” the agent continued. “So that’s the worry. It’s kind of twofold. We’re addressing the tweet, but we also want to make sure what you said, what can be taken as … And then obviously at the end of this whole thing, the biggest thing is to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Arnold agreed with the concern of the agents and cited his own experience with receiving death threats. The second agent chimed in, “You’re a public figure. So as we go on several interviews with, more like, individuals who are public figures … obviously we address anything you may have tweeted or post on Facebook or something.”
“But what we have to worry about is your type of audience and you say something inciting those that follow you … You might be, might be using it in a comedian-type sense, or whatever, you know, being very comical about it,” he continued. “But there’s a lot of people out there who may really follow Tom Arnold. ‘He said this, and that’s the exact thing, I needed that. I need to go get this and go ahead to the next rally, yeah, and carry this out.’ But you might have meant it in something like a playful jest.”
Of course, leftist Mother Jones being composed of Trump-hating leftists as they are, immediately sought to flip what had been said by the Secret Service agents to be used against Trump, and boldly stated that the president needed to receive the same scolding from the agents as Arnold did about how what he posts to social media could be inciting his followers.
Except, Trump hasn’t called for anyone to be beheaded or assassinated, he hasn’t called for physical violence against his voluminous detractors and — other than the crazy Florida guy sending inert pipe bombs to influential Democratic figures — his supporters have yet to be incited to act out violently against their political opposition … the same of which cannot be said for Arnold and his Hollywood leftist ilk, whose followers have lashed out violently and repeatedly against Trump supporters and Republicans in general.
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