By any reasonable measure, the Republican National Convention has been a muddled affair, at best. Beset with parliamentary infighting, a bizarre plagiarism scandal, and at least one confounding accusation of Devil-worship, an event designed to unify has instead seemed to exemplify the fractious infighting brought, in no small part, by the nomination of Donald Trump.
Republicans at the RNC do agree on one thing, though: Hillary Clinton.
Indeed, if there's been a single, surefire way for speakers at the RNC to rouse the passions of convention delegates, it's been this: Promise to throw the presumptive Democratic nominee in prison, and then sit back and soak in the applause.
Throughout the first two nights of the RNC, speakers ranging from retired Lt. General Michael Flynn to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have lead the Quicken Loans Arena in calls for the prosecution and imprisonment of Clinton, to the fevered delight of those in attendance.
New Hampshire state representative Al Baldasaro, a Trump delegate who reportedly advises the candidate on veterans issues, took pillorying Clinton to a disturbing new level on Tuesday in a radio interview with Boston's WRKO radio. Rep. Baldasaro described Clinton as "a piece of garbage" and "a disgrace," whose handling of the attack on U.S. personnel in Benghazi, Libya, deserved prison time, or worse.
"I’m a veteran that went to Desert Shield, Desert Storm. I’m also a father who sent a son to war, to Iraq, as a Marine Corps helicopter avionics technician. Hillary Clinton to me is the Jane Fonda of the Vietnam,” Baldasaro told the Jeff Kushner Show in comments first noticed by BuzzFeed. “She is a disgrace for the lies that she told those mothers about their children that got killed over there in Benghazi. She dropped the ball on over 400 emails requesting back up security. Something’s wrong there."
"This whole thing disgusts me,” he continued later. “Hillary Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot for treason."
The suggestion that the former secretary of state and current presumptive Democratic nominee for the White House should be summarily executed didn't seem to phase the interviewer, who, without skipping a beat, asked about the proliferation of "Hillary for Prison" T-shirts available at the RNC, and whether Baldasaro would wear one—a peculiar question to ask someone who just called for a firing squad.
"I don't wear the T-shirt, 'cuz I'm a collar guy." Baldasaro answered.
You can listen to the interview below:
When contacted by The Boston Globe, Baldasaro—who reportedly retired from the Marine corps as a first sergeant—stood by his remarks, telling the paper:
When you take classified information on a server that deals with where our State Department, Special Forces, CIA, whatever in other countries, that’s a death sentence for those people if that information gets in the hands of other countries or the terrorists. As far as I’m concerned, that’s information for the enemy. In the military, shot, firing squad. So I stand by what I said.
From raucous chants calling for Hillary's imprisonment from the floor of the RNC, to a justification for her execution from a party delegate, this week has seen a pernicious uptick in the rhetoric used to rally the GOP base.