UPDATE: Douthat has apologized and deleted the original tweet. A screenshot of the tweet appears below.
New York Times columnist Ross Douthat caused outrage after he joked about how an assassination attempt could end Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
“Good news guys I’ve figured out how the Trump campaign ends,” Douthat tweeted last night.
The tweet links to a video clip from the 1983 movie The Dead Zone, which features a character played by Christopher Walken attempting to gun down a political figure played by Martin Sheen.
In the plot, Walken’s character tries to kill the US Senatorial candidate (played by Sheen) because he has visions of him becoming president in the future and starting a nuclear war. Sheen’s character holds up a baby as a human shield during the assassination attempt, destroying his credibility.
While joking about an assassination attempt on any public figure is crass, it’s particularly relevant with Trump because he faces a very real threat of being targeted.
As we previously highlighted, according to his former advisor Roger Stone, Trump now wears a bullet proof vest at all public appearance due to the sheer volume of death threats he receives on a regular basis.
Trump first began wearing the vest in October last year after after reports that the world’s most wanted drug lord El Chapo had put a $100 million bounty on his head. He also received Secret Service protection at around this time.
Following his controversial comments on Muslim immigration back in December, Twitter exploded with death threats aimed at Trump.
Reaction to Douthat’s Twitter quip from Trump supporters was forceful.
— P.T. Carlo (@PTcarlo) February 25, 2016
@DouthatNYT Dude, you're making fucking assassination jokes?
— David J. Hoffman (@djhoffmanlaw) February 24, 2016
@DouthatNYT maybe time for you to take a break.
— Patricia Hemsworth (@phemsworth) February 25, 2016
@DouthatNYT are you freaking serious? Imagine if you made this joke about President Obama. What is wrong with you, dude?
— Eddie (@BasementOnaHill) February 25, 2016
Just when I thought NYTimes could not sink any lower…
— RT (@rtoh) February 25, 2016
@DouthatNYT if someone at News Corp did this tweet in 08 about Obama, you'd be first to want that person fired and declare News Corp racist.
— Matt (@LLMax00) February 25, 2016
Douthat bills himself as a conservative, but in his latest column for the New York Times he concludes that “President Hillary” would be a better choice for America than “our own nuclear-armed Berlusconi”.
Attacks on Trump from conservatives and members of the Republican establishment have picked up in recent days, with Mitt Romney remarking yesterday that the billionaire’s tax documents could be hiding a “bombshell” revelation.
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