Journalists condemned Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s threats, made during the second presidential debate, that he would jail Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton if he were elected, saying they were the sort of thing you would hear in “countries with dictators” and “authoritarian countries” and calling them “stunning” and “a new low in American democracy.”
Trump Threatens To Put Clinton In Jail If He’s Elected President
Trump To Clinton: “You Would Be In Jail” If I Were In Charge Of Country’s Laws. During the second presidential debate, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton that “you would be in jail” if he were in charge of the country. Trump also threatened to “get a special prosecutor” to go after Clinton. From The Huffington Post’s October 9 report:
Donald Trump on Sunday threatened to appoint a special prosecutor to go after Hillary Clinton for her use of a personal email account while she was secretary of state.
“I didn’t think I’d say this but I’m going to say it, and I hate to say it, but if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because there has never been so many lies, so much deception, there has never been anything like it and we’re going to have a special prosecutor,” Trump said during the presidential debate, referring to her emails.
“We have literally Trump, you can fact check him in real time. Last time, at the first debate, we had millions of people fact-checking. So I expect we’ll have millions more fact-checking because, you know, it is, it’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country,” [Clinton] said.
“Because you would be in jail,” Trump said to Clinton. [The Huffington Post, 10/9/16]
“Totalitarian”: Journalists Compare Trump’s Threats To Jail Political Opponent To Things That Happen In Dictatorships, Authoritarian Regimes
CNN’s Dana Bash: “Stunning” That Trump Threatened To Put Clinton In Jail, As “Countries With Dictators” Do. CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash called it “just stunning” that Trump would threaten to jail Clinton, saying that happens in “countries with dictators … and totalitarian leaders.” From CNN’s October 9 post-debate coverage:
WOLF BLITZER (HOST): We got an excellent moment right now to discuss something I've never heard in any of these debates before between two presidential candidates, and Dana, let's talk a little about this. One candidate says not only is he going to put forward a special prosecutor to investigate his rival, but, and this is very sig -- he's going to put her in jail if he's elected president of the United States. That's pretty extraordinary.
DANA BASH: OK, not to sound too corny, but what makes this country different from countries with dictators in Africa or Stalin or Hitler or any of those countries with dictators and totalitarian leaders is that when they took over, they put their opponents in jail. To hear one presidential candidate say -- even if it was a flip comment, which it was -- you're going to be in jail to another presidential candidate on the debate stage in the United States of America, stunning. Just stunning.
BLITZER: It certainly is. [CNN, Debate Night In America, 10/9/16]
MSNBC’s Joy Reid: “We Need To Not Speed Past The Point That An American Candidate For President Threatened To Jail His Political Opponent.” In discussing Trump’s threats, MSNBC’s Joy Reid said Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are currently investigating the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where “a political opponent of the current leader was put in jail on charges.” Reid asserted that “we need to not speed past the point that an American candidate for president threatened to jail his political opponent,” condemning his threats as something that “does not happen in the United States of America.” From MSNBC’s October 9 post-presidential debate coverage:
JOY REID: Not to get too dramatic with it, but my father came to this country from the Democratic Republic of Congo. We weren’t that close, but we definitely talked about the Congo and the politics there. We need to not speed past the point that an American candidate for president threatened to jail his political opponent. This is something that Human Rights Watch, that Amnesty International is investigating in the Democratic Republic of Congo right now. Right now. Because as of this summer, a political opponent of the current leader was put in jail on charges. This happens in Malaysia, this happens in Uganda. This does not happen in the United States of America. [MSNBC, Post-Presidential Debate Coverage, 10/9/16]
CNN’s Van Jones: Trump “Threatened To Jail Hillary Clinton,” Reaching “A New Low In American Democracy.” CNN’s Van Jones said that with Trump’s comments on jailing Clinton, “a line was crossed that I don’t know has been crossed in my lifetime, maybe ever.” Jones later called it “a new low in American democracy.” From CNN’s October 9 post-presidential debate coverage:
VAN JONES: The other thing is that you cannot underestimate the history that was made in our country -- a line was crossed that I don't know has been crossed in my lifetime, maybe ever. He threatened to jail his opponent.
JONES: He threatened to jail Hillary Clinton if he became president of the United States. That is something that I think is a new low in American democracy. [CNN, Debate Night In America, 10/9/16]
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow: Trump’s Comment Is “The Sort Of Thing That We Usually Decry In Other Countries, In Authoritarian Countries.” MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow called Trump’s comment “one of the most provocative comments of the evening,” continuing that his assertion “is the sort of thing that we usually decry in other countries, in authoritarian countries.” From MSNBC’s October 9 post-presidential debate coverage:
RACHEL MADDOW: Donald Trump also said, in one of the most provocative comments of the evening, he said that if he was president, he would jail his political opponent. He would put Hillary Clinton in jail. That is the sort of thing that we usually decry in other countries, in authoritarian countries, but he both stated that and then joked about it in the debate this evening. [MSNBC, Post-Presidential Debate Coverage, 10/9/16]
MSNBC’s Chuck Todd: “Our State Department Would Say ‘That’s Not A Democratic Election’” If One Candidate Threatened To Jail Another In A Different Country. MSNBC’s Chuck Todd said the U.S. State Department would tell another country, “‘That’s not a democratic election,’” if one candidate threatened to jail his political opponent. From MSNBC’s October 9 post-presidential debate coverage:
RACHEL MADDOW (HOST): There's a lot of insane stuff that did happen within the 90 minutes too that will continue to be fodder for discussion. I mean that -- when we finally did -- we did actually end up talking about the Access Hollywood tape during the debate, and he said -- he said, “This is locker room talk, you know, we have a world with ISIS chopping off heads.”
He immediately brought up ISIS as his answer for whether or not he sexually assaulted someone. I mean, that will live on. Threatening to jail his political opponent, that will live on. Rescinding his Muslim ban, that will live on.
BRIAN WILLIAMS (HOST): I didn't tell people to check out the sex tape --
MADDOW: Yeah, he says that he didn't tweet “check out the sex tape,” that was literally -- you tweeted “check out the sex tape.”
CHUCK TODD: I want to go back to that jail comment, because --
MADDOW: The jail comment is a huge comment --
TODD: Because do you realize what would happen -- OK, do you realize what would happen though if another country's election -- we would criticize, our state department would say “That's not a democratic election.”
WILLIAMS: That's right. [MSNBC, Post-Presidential Debate Coverage, 10/9/16]