Trump slammed for celebrating extrajudicial killing: ‘This is so beyond the pale’
Accounts of the death of Michael Reinoehl, the antifa activist who admitted to shooting far-right Patriot Prayer member Aaron J. Danielson at a protest in Portland, Oregon on August 29, have varied. One witness alleged that Reinoehl appeared to be unarmed when he was fatally shot by law enforcement officers on September 3; according to other accounts, police shot Reinoehl in self-defense.
But for President Donald Trump, it's not a complex matter that needs to better understood. For him, it's a point of pride. He openly celebrated Reinoehl's killing during a speech in Greenville, North Carolina on Thursday, leading critics to denounce hime on social media.
Trump told the crowd, "We sent in the U.S. Marshals. Took 15 minutes, and it was over. We got him. They knew who he was. They didn't want to arrest him. Fifteen minutes, that ended."
The "they didn't want to arrest him" claim was particularly disturbing from a due process standpoint. Trump appeared to be saying that he didn't care whether or not Reinoehl was lawfully arrested and received due process in the courts — he simply wanted him shot and killed. However, some pointed out that, in the fuller context of Trump's remarks, he was referring to local police who didn't want to arrest Reinoehl, rather than the Marshals.
Nevertheless, his comments were disturbingly ambiguous and called for clarification. And regardless of the meaning of that particular claim, Trump was still celebrating the shooting death of someone who was still just a suspect in another case. Such deaths should be avoided by law enforcement whenever possible, and no one should celebrate them if they happen. Not only does it deprive the person killed of their life and right to due process, but the killing also guarantees that justice can't be done in the case the suspect was wanted for.
Attorney Matthew Miller, who often discusses national security matters on MSNBC, addressed Trump's comments and tweeted, "This is so beyond the pale it really does require a response from senior leadership at DOJ. The AG is obviously a lost cause, but the Director of the Marshals Service needs to issue a statement to his workforce that this is not what is expected and would not be tolerated."
Tensions were high in Portland on August 29, when anti-racist protesters clashed with far-right counterdemonstrators and Trump supporters. Reinoehl, after Danielson was fatally shot, said he acted in self-defense. And Reinoehl was shot when police found him on September 3. A witness, Nate Dingus, said that Reinoehl appeared to be unarmed; other accounts said that Reinoehl produced a firearm when police went to arrest him.
Watch the clip below:
Trump delivers remarks at 'Make America Great Again' rally youtu.be