Former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino has a few choice words for Ross Douthat after the New York Times columnist joked about an assassination attempt on Donald Trump.
Words like “irresponsible, grotesque, despicable and ignorant,” Bongino told WND in an interview.
On Wednesday afternoon Douthat tweeted, “Good news guys I’ve figured out how the Trump campaign ends.”
He then linked to a YouTube clip from the 1983 movie “The Dead Zone” in which a character played by Christopher Walken tries to gun down a political candidate played by Martin Sheen. However, Sheen’s character thwarts the attempt by holding up a baby as a human shield, destroying his credibility.
As WND previously reported, Twitter users were quick to castigate Douthat.
The ostensibly conservative columnist then deleted his tweet, and the following morning he apologized, tweeting, “A lot readers were offended by my Trump/’Dead Zone’ joke from yesterday. I can see why, and I’ve deleted the tweet. Apologies.”
Bongino said threatening or implying an assassination of a presidential candidate requires intent to trigger legal consequences, so Douthat should be safe on the that front. However, that does not mean what he did was OK from a moral or ethical standpoint.
The larger issue, Bongino said, is that Douthat’s “joke” represents the arrogance of the political insider class that makes so many Americans sick.
“The people are angry at Washington, D.C., and more importantly, the insider class, which includes people like this joker,” Bongino said. “People are angry at them because they feel like morally and ethically that these people live by a different code, and this guy’s code is clearly, ‘I’m gonna say or do whatever I want to anyone who doesn’t live by this connected insider set of rules,’ even if it means tweeting a tweet that suggests someone should kill the guy!
“I mean, how out of touch, ethically challenged and disgusting can this group of people get?”
Bongino spent 12 years in the Secret Service, and he protected both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. In his book, “Life Inside the Bubble: Why a Top-Ranked Secret Service Agent Walked Away From It All,” he wrote that Obama’s first inauguration was a proud moment for America outside of the president’s politics.
And Bongino, who has run as a Republican for both a U.S. House and U.S. Senate seat from Maryland, is no fan of Obama’s politics.
“I vehemently and wholeheartedly disagree with the president’s ideology and legislative agenda,” he admitted. “I think that’s clear. I’ve obviously never run from that. … [But] I was always personally very complimentary because that’s what we as Americans should do – we should focus on issues.”
Bongino believes Douthat, who appears to favor Marco Rubio and John Kasich over Trump, should likewise not let his dislike of the Donald’s policies drive him to make assassination jokes.
On the same day Douthat unleashed his ill-fated tweet, Charles C.W. Cooke unloaded a barrage of militaristic rhetoric in a National Review article titled, “It’s Time for an Anti-Trump Manhattan Project.”
Cooke wrote: “Now is the time to throw everything at Trump, and to stop this disaster in its tracks. … Incidentally, when I say ‘everything,’ I really do mean everything. Tomorrow night, as they stand on either side of Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz must find their resolve and all-but-machine-gun the man to the floor.”
Of course, that is essentially what Rubio and Cruz ended up doing Thursday night.
Cooke continued: “In the meantime, conservatives who are not running for president must ensure that every spare dollar is spent attacking Trump. Melt down the fences if you have to; we need long-range bombers here.”
He ended his piece like this: “The anti-Trump forces that still make up the majority of the Republican coalition must begin an expedited Manhattan Project, the sole aim of which is to bring down the front-runner piece by unpleasant piece. ‘If not us, who?’ Ronald Reagan asked in the heat of the 1981 budget battle. ‘If not now, when?’ Time to go nuclear, chaps.”
Cooke’s article is another example of an out-of-touch insider attacking a candidate whom many ordinary Americans love, according to Bongino. Plenty of people appear to be getting sick of attitudes like Cooke’s, he said.
Bongino, whose latest book is titled “The Fight: A Secret Service Agent’s Inside Account of Security Failings and the Political Machine,” said when he travels around the country giving speeches, he sees voters are prioritizing their wants and needs.
“What’s at the top of that list, what is priority number one for them, is getting rid of the insider class,” he said. “Everything else is secondary, and I think the establishment in D.C. on both sides had better wake up quick or they’re going to get woken up fast. They’re going to wake up the day after the election and be like, ‘What just happened?'”
This explains the support for Trump, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders, according to Bongino. He said Trump is a political outsider who rails against the political machine all the time. Cruz is an elected official who has built his career on fighting against insiders, or the “Washington cartel” as he calls it. Sanders talks like an outsider, although Bongino views him as a Washington insider.
“They all have that one theme in common,” Bongino concluded. “People are triaging their wants and needs in this election, and want and need number one is to get rid of this insider class, to sweep D.C. clean completely and get rid of these people.”