Republican presidential hopeful and current frontrunner Donald Trump seems to be supplying the media and the country with an endless litany of strange sayings and bizarre rants. Trump has always been outspoken when it comes to certain topics. He has made controversial statements in the past about everything from real estate and bankruptcy to Miss America and his own daughter. Many people largely disregarded the things Trump said in the past because he was really nothing more than a reality television star and real estate developer.
That all changed when he rose to the top of the polls in the presidential race and now seems poised to take the Republican nomination. Donald Trump was recently speaking to a group of his supporters in Sioux Center, Iowa. He is making many stops in Iowa recently since the caucus is finally just a short time away. Trump stated proudly that he could walk out onto 5th Avenue in New York City and start shooting people. He bragged that it would not affect his poll numbers at all if he did that. The comments were shocking to many.
One reason is that the issue of gun violence in the United States is so sensitive with mass shootings happening on a seemingly regular basis. Trump seems deaf to the concerns of people who have been victims of gun violence and who believe that talking about killing people indiscriminately in this climate is wrong. The problem is that this is not the first time Trump has decided to talk about murdering Americans within the country. It was not too long ago when Trump was in Grand Rapids, Michigan at a campaign rally. He was going through his normal stump speech yelling about the unfair media. He then turned to Russian President Vladimir Putin for some reason.
Trump has received some harsh criticism for not only praising Putin but for lying about meeting him in the past. Trump spoke about killing reporters like Putin has been accused of doing in Russia. The crowd cheered. Trump did eventually say that he would not murder reporters but then coyly left his answer open to interpretation. Donald Trump has refused to answer questions about his most recent comment. Trump and his surrogates just deflect the questions or state that it was nothing to take seriously. The reality, however, is that Trump is likely correct. Trump supporters have gone on camera many times stating that they are basically loyal to the campaign no matter what he says or does.
Many supporters in focus groups and interviews outside rallies cannot even say exactly why they support Trump beyond the “he tells it like it is” mantra heard so often now. Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz was asked about the recent statement. Cruz is second in the polls and stands a chance of possibly winning Iowa. Cruz and Trump share many of the same ideas and philosophies although they are communicated in different ways. Cruz declined to denounce Trump or the statement. He did say that he was not going to shoot anyone as part of his campaign. Donald Trump continues to hold steady at the top of the polls. His adoring supporters are prepared to follow him to the end regardless of anything that happens.
Most people outside of the far-right field see claims of shooting people as insensitive, ignorant and just plain creepy especially when coming from a presidential candidate. The latest shooting statements do not seem to be affecting his base who still rally wildly whenever Trump goes off on a tangent and says something ridiculous. It remains to be seen whether Trump’s supporters will actually go out and vote for him when the time comes.