Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather urged his media colleagues on Tuesday to not downplay the significance of Donald Trump's remarks about "Second Amendment people" and Hillary Clinton.
"By any objective analysis, this is a new low and unprecedented in the history of American presidential politics," Rather wrote on his Facebook page. "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."
Rather argued that, while Trump's surrogates are already trying to "gloss it over" following widespread criticism by both liberals and conservatives for suggesting that gun advocates could "take care of" his Democratic Party opponent, that the remark cannot be taken back.
"To anyone who still pretends this is a normal election of Republican against Democrat, history is watching. And I suspect its verdict will be harsh," he wrote. "Many have tried to do a side-shuffle and issue statements saying they strongly disagree with his rhetoric but still support the candidate. That is becoming woefully insufficient. The rhetoric is the candidate."
Rather ended his post by quoting from Abraham Lincoln's inauguration address, which sought to avert the Civil War by appealing to "the better angels of our nature."
"Sadly his call for sanity, cohesion and peace was met with horrific violence that almost left our precious Union asunder," the AXS host said. "We cannot let that happen again."