On Wednesday evening, President Trump dined and posed for photos with rock star Ted Nugent, a man who became the target of a Secret Service investigation after he said in 2012 that if President Obama were reelected, Nugent would “either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”
Nugent posted about his White House visit on Facebook.
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Nugent’s 2012 comments about Obama — who he has called a “piece of shit” and a “subhuman mongrel” — are far from the only threat he’s made against prominent Democrats. As the Daily Beast chronicled, Nugent discussed shooting Harry Reid during the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in 2015. In January 2016, he called for both Obama and Clinton to “be tried for treason & hung.” Nugent once called Clinton a “worthless bitch” and called for her to “ride one of these [guns] into the sunset.” He told Obama to “suck on my machine gun.”
Nugent’s reprehensibleness goes beyond making threats.
And yet Trump invited him to the White House anyway. Perhaps that shouldn’t be a surprise — after Nugent’s 2012 comment about how he’d “either be dead or in jail by this time next year” if Obama won reelection, Trump defended him and suggested his comments were justified.
Ted Nugent was obviously using a figure of speech, unfortunate as it was. It just shows the anger people have towards @BarackObama.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 19, 2012
Nugent’s well-documented history of racism and violent threats also didn’t deter Trump from featuring him in his campaign ads and at his rallies.
Trump became president despite occasionally deploying Nugent-style rhetoric against Clinton during the campaign. During a rally in August, Trump infamously suggested that “Second Amendment people” — gun owners — might be the last line of defense against Hillary Clinton and the gun-curtailing judges she’d nominate.
Joining Nugent at the White House on Wednesday were fellow rock n’ roller Kid Rock and Sarah Palin. The three posed for a photo with Trump and also next to a portrait of Hillary Clinton.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) April 20, 2017
On her website, Palin wrote that “President Trump’s invitation for dinner included bringing a couple of friends; it was the highest honor to have great Americans who are independent, hardworking, patriotic, and unafraid share commonsense solutions at the White House.”
Her post includes many photos of her, Kid Rock, and Nugent posing with White House staff, including Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Palin also writes that Trump gave them a guided tour.