Vilification of Hillary Clinton, as a killer who should be behind bars, featured strongly on the opening night of the Republican National Convention. Delegates in Cleveland united in strident chants, calling for the imprisonment of America’s first presumptive presidential nominee from a major party, as various speakers drove the message home.
Patricia Smith, the mother of Benghazi victim Sean Smith, said, “I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the murder of my son [in Libya in 2012]” and declared with palpable emotion and bitterness: “Hillary for prison. She deserves to be in stripes.” She was followed by Retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who enthusiastically joined the crowd in unprecedented chants of “Lock Her Up!” The chant was one of the RNC’s most shouted slogans on day one — interspersed with “U-S-A!” To loud cheers from the Trump GOP fan base, Flynn applauded the calls for Clinton’s incarceration and said: “You’re damn right. There’s nothing wrong with that!”
Flynn also suggested Clinton was again profiting from her free pass “Woman Card” because “if I did a tenth of what she did I would be in jail today. So, Crooked Hillary Clinton, leave this race now!”
And the vitriol kept coming. Republican Senate candidate for Colorado Darryl Glenn even took aim at the Democratic nominee’s preferred sartorial style, to hammer home the “Lock Her Up!” mantra: “We all know Hillary loves her pants suits … we should send her an email telling her she deserves a bright orange jumpsuit,” he told the Convention in a late-night speech.
“Never watched a convention premised on throwing the other candidate in prison before outside of the Soviet Union,” commented Michael Weiss, a fellow at Scowcroft Center, in a widely shared Tweet.
Calls for Clinton’s jailing and even execution are not new. Last weekend West Virginia Republican lawmaker Michael Folk Tweeted that she should be “hung” in the national mall.” The now-deleted Tweet asserted: “Hillary Clinton, you should be tried for treason, murder, and crimes against the US Constitution… then hung on the Mall in Washington, DC.”
While pro-Trump protesters outside the convention Hall shouted “Hillary for prison,” women on the stage inside, in their roles as mothers and grandmothers, were repeatedly brought out to make some of the wildest claims against the former secretary of state, accusing her of deliberately allowing terrorists, illegal-immigrant drunk drivers and criminals to murder native-born Americans.
The roll-call of “Gold Star Mothers” — women who have lost their children in combat — took calculated aim at the Democratic nominee as a direct threat to children.
Mary Ann Mendoza, whose son police Sgt. Brandon Mendoza was killed in a traffic accident said: “My son’s life was stolen at the hand of an illegal alien. It’s time we had an administration that cares more about America than illegals. A vote for Hillary is putting all our children’s lives at risk.”
Sgt. Mendoza was hit head-on by a man who had been living illegally in the U.S. for two decades.
The “ad feminem” Hillary-shaming and bashing did not impress all the speakers. Republican Senator Joni Ernst, a veteran and self-described “farm girl” from Iowa, not known in Republican circles as a moderate, declined to add her name to the baying for Clinton’s imprisonment.
Relegated to an 11pm slot after most delegates emptied the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland — following Melania Trump’s speech that contained some apparently plagiarized passages –and with the convention running over-time, Ernst said Clinton “cannot be trusted and had “failed to protect national security.” The rising Republican star, whose staff members were said to be furious she was bumped from prime time, hammered the Democrat on Obama-administration policy towards ISIS, yet refrained from joining in calls for Clinton’s maximum security jailing in an orange jumpsuit. “I wouldn’t say that she belongs in jail,” Ernst said in remarks reported by The Washington Post. “I don’t know that. I didn’t sit through those hearings.”
The misogynistic groundwork had already been laid in the lead-up to Cleveland, with actor Scott Baio widely condemned for Tweeting a meme of Hillary in front of the word COUNT but with the O blocked out. CNN’s Dana Bash confronted Baio on the convention floor about his sexism but he shrugged it off as “just a picture somebody sent.”
Among convention paraphernalia (not officially licensed) on sale are anti-Hillary badges saying “KFC Hillary Special” with “2 Fat Thighs, 2 Small Breasts…Left Wing” and Clinton in a photo captioned “Life’s a Bitch, Don’t Vote for One.”
Bitch-themed merchandise is everywhere in Cleveland, reports the Huffington Post. Hillary-hating Republicans are selling t-shirts with images of Trump on a motorcycle with Clinton behind and the words: “If you can read this, the bitch fell off.”
“Trump that _itch” slightly censors the popular anti-Hillary jibe, but some GOP convention propaganda wear doesn’t even need words: an image of Trump as a Mohammmed-Ali-style boxer literally stepping on a vanquished Hillary on her back in the ring will suffice.