Hillary is a criminal’ is a popular meme among the far right. The Republican National Convention saw many delegates wearing ‘Hillary for Prison’ badges. Most mainstream Republicans have avoided dealing with the right-wing conspiracy that Clinton is a killer and a traitor, but now the idea is going mainstream.
Last night, as Hillary Clinton was criticizing Trump supporters for sexism and homophobia, Trump claimed in Florida that Clinton could kill someone in public and not go to prison. “She could walk into this arena right now and shoot somebody with 20,000 people watching right smack in the middle of the heart and she wouldn’t be prosecuted, OK? That’s what’s happened,” Trump said.
Trump has flirted with right-wing conspiracies for several months now. There are many conspiracies concerning Hillary Clinton’s health and her actions as secretary of state. It’s common to see Alt-Right images referring to her as ‘Killary’ and blaming her for the Benghazi attacks in 2011. Trump and his campaign are helping to bring these former fringe theories into mainstream discourse.
Former Minnesota Representative and Trump supporter Michele Bachmann said today that Clinton should already be in prison. Bachmann has claimed she is advising Trump on foreign policy. Bachmann has been the darling of the Tea Party movement for years and is no stranger to controversial statements. The increasing claims about Clinton’s apparent criminality are playing to Trump’s hard right supporters.
The first presidential debate takes place on 25th September. It will be the first time Trump has had to personally engage with Clinton. With his frequent claims that Clinton is a villain and a failure, it is unclear whether Trump will make the claims to the Democrat’s face.