Donald Trump drew cheers from his supporters during Sunday’s presidential debate by suggesting he would lock up Hillary Clinton in jail if he was elected president.
The Republican nominee’s rallies are frequently punctuated by supporters chanting “lock her up,” and he interrupted Clinton to say he would throw her in jail if he was placed in charge of the executive branch.
“You know, it’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in this country,” Clinton said, and Trump shot back: “Because you’d be in jail.”
MSNBC’s Willie Geist asked Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, on Monday morning whether her boss stood by his “offhand” comment about jailing Clinton.
“That was a quip,” Conway said. “And I saw in NBC’s own reporting, it was referred to as a ‘quip,’ so I’ll go with NBC on it.”
NBC did refer to Trump’s comment as a quip in a report that described his “unprecedented: threat to jail Clinton “a direct breach of the tradition of nonpartisan rule of law.”
Trump suggested in August that “Second Amendment” people might be able to stop Clinton from picking U.S. Supreme Court justices if she wins, and last month he urged her Secret Service detail to disarm to “see what happens to her.”
Conway backed Trump’s promise to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton’s use of a private email server as Secretary of State, which the FBI examined and found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
“I think that’s Donald Trump channeling the frustration he hears from thousands of voters on the stump every day,” Conway said. “They’re very frustrated that she has a different set of rules for her.”
The FBI director has resisted calls from Republican lawmakers to reopen the investigation, saying there wasn’t enough evidence to suggest Clinton was part of a coverup operation — but Conway said Trump would pursue prosecution if he was elected.
“How can she not have faced any type of penalty for doing something where people who do far less have faced a serious penalty?” Conway said.