One of the more controversial elements of Donald Trump’s campaign for president was his verbal assaults on Hillary Clinton. Democrats were appalled that Trump would suggest that Clinton should be tried and jailed for a laundry list of crimes. The chants of “Lock her up!” energized those who hated Clinton, but now Trump seems apathetic about his promise to hold her accountable.
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Trump is continuing his rallies, thanking those who elected him president. These rallies have much of the same energy and message that Trump carried with him on the campaign trail, and his supporters are still showing up in surprising numbers. And on many of these occasions, they’re asking Trump to hold to his campaign promises.
Yet Trump is already hedging on some of the convictions that gained him the most support. The push to hold Clinton accountable for her mishandling of classified information, for one, seems to have fallen off Trump’s radar.
During Trump’s appearance in Grand Rapids, Michigan, chants of “lock her up” broke out – as they often do. Trump’s response has gotten much scrutiny in the last few hours.
“No, it’s okay,” Trump responded. “Forget it. That plays great before the election. Nah, we don’t care, right?” Or that’s one interpretation. He might have said “Now we don’t care, right?”
Trump’s accent and inflection make it hard to determine. The way he’s shrugged off the “Nah,” part makes it look like he’s almost assuming a character’s perspective–as if some crowds were saying “lock her up” and her supporters (and maybe even the FBI) were saying “nah, we don’t care.”
Most of the media read something more malicious in his statement, as if his “lock her up” message was just campaign hyperbole and now he doesn’t care about locking her up. Trump’s whole “lock her up” mantra may well have been some form of joke–an exaggeration for effect that Trump used as political theater.
That’s how it is being read by Clinton’s supporters, too. And he isn’t planning on prosecuting Clinton, Trump supporters are going to be livid.