Legendary journalist Dan Rather won't be buying any of Donald Trump's excuses for insinuating that "Second Amendment" people could possibly shoot Hillary Clinton to stop her from appointing Supreme Court justices should she be elected president in November. Rather wants Trump to know: "History is watching."
In a Facebook post Tuesday, the former CBS Evening News anchor called out Trump for his comments, saying he "crossed a line with dangerous potential."
This is no longer about policy, civility, decency or even temperament. This is a direct threat of violence against a political rival. It is not just against the norms of American politics, it raises a serious question of whether it is against the law. If any other citizen had said this about a Presidential candidate, would the Secret Service be investigating?
During a North Carolina rally, Trump said "If she gets to pick her judges —nothing you can do folks. Although, the Second Amendment, people, maybe there is." Though many believe Trump's intention with the comment, joke or not, was clear, his camp blamed the "dishonest media" for distorting what he really meant.
But, to Rather, it's too late for any more excuses.
"Candidate Trump will undoubtedly issue an explanation; some of his surrogates are already engaged in trying to gloss it over, but once the words are out there they cannot be taken back," Rather continued in the post. "That is what inciting violence means."
Rather ended his post with a famous quote from Abraham Lincoln:
We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
"Lincoln used these stirring words to end his First Inaugural Address," Rather concluded his post. "It was the eve of the Civil War and sadly his call for sanity, cohesion and peace was met with horrific violence that almost left our precious Union asunder. We cannot let that happen again."