During a rally in Pensacola, Florida on Friday night, President Donald Trump responded to chants from the crowd to “lock her up” by railing against the “rigged system” in the United States.
“Look, it’s being proven we have a rigged system,” Trump said. “Doesn’t happen so easy. But this system, there will be a lot of changes.”
“Lock her up” chants refer to Trump’s opponent in the 2016 presidential election, Democratic candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Trump has long called for Clinton to be investigated for a litany of alleged actions, such as using a private server for State Department email. Numerous investigations by the FBI have shown no wrongdoings on the part of Clinton or her campaign. The Trump campaign, however, has produced four individuals that have been charged with crimes this year — and two who have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with the special counsel.
The Trump administration has repeatedly tried to shift focus from the wave of indictments against both low-level and high-level campaign officials by blaming the Clinton campaign for similar acts, like lying to the FBI. Trump called the news that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI “very unfair” and suggested that “Hillary Clinton lied many times to the FBI.” Trump also tweeted about the “rigged system” in response to Flynn’s indictment.
So General Flynn lies to the FBI and his life is destroyed, while Crooked Hillary Clinton, on that now famous FBI holiday “interrogation” with no swearing in and no recording, lies many times…and nothing happens to her? Rigged system, or just a double standard?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2017
Former FBI Director James Comey told the House Oversight Committee last summer that he had “no basis to conclude she lied to the FBI.”
Trump’s comment on Friday night prompted criticism from Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who warned that the comments could sow distrust in democratic institutions.
This is not a sick system, Mr. President, nor is it a rigged system. Let's not sow distrust in our democratic institutions.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) December 9, 2017
Trump’s comments also came a few days after former President Barack Obama warned in a speech that without protecting democracy, the United States could easily fall into the same trap that helped the Nazis rise to power in the 1930s in Germany.
“You have to tend to this garden of democracy, otherwise things can fall apart fairly quickly. And we’ve seen societies where that happens,” Obama said on Tuesday.
An October poll from the Washington Post found that under Trump, American faith in democracy has eroded, with the share of Americans who are not proud of how democracy works in this country double what it was three years ago.