President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Hackers are making big money MORE cracked a joke during a Florida rally on Wednesday night after one of his supporters yelled that people attempting to cross the southern border should be shot, The Washington Post reported.
Trump, speaking to a crowd of thousands in Panama City Beach, noted the U.S. Border Patrol agents are not allowed to carry weapons to deter illegal crossings.
“And don’t forget, we don’t let them and we can’t let them use weapons,” Trump said of the border agents. “We can’t. Other countries do. We can’t. I would never do that. But how do you stop these people? You can’t.”
“Shoot them!” someone yelled from the crowd, according to reporters and attendees at the rally.
The audience cheered while Trump smiled and shook his head.
“That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement,” Trump joked. “Only in the Panhandle.”
This is not the first time Trump has referenced the lack of weapons at the U.S.-Mexico border.
While speaking with Fox News host and confidant Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityGraham says Brazilian immigrants arriving at border 'wearing designer clothes and Gucci bags' Judge: Request for Tucker Carlson personnel files is 'intrusive' Pence treads carefully with Trump MORE in March, Trump said the use of guns would be “very effective” even though it was not an option.
“Other countries stand there with machine guns, ready to fire,” Trump said at the time. “We can’t do that. I wouldn’t want to do that, OK? It’s a very effective way of doing it, but I wouldn’t want to do it. We can’t do it.”
Here's the President of the United States saying he isn't going to shoot undocumented immigrants but shooting undocumented immigrants would be very effective pic.twitter.com/wWg2ThaP56— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) March 28, 2019
A right-wing militia group called United Constitutional Patriots has begun stopping migrant families at gunpoint in southern New Mexico and detaining them before U.S. Border Patrol agents arrive, The New York Times reported last month.
The group’s leader, Larry Hopkins, was arrested last month on charges of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.
The 69-year-old reportedly bragged two years ago that the group's members had received training to assassinate figures such as former President Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden sends 'best wishes' to Clinton following hospitalization The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Jan. 6 panel flexes its muscle MORE and prominent Democratic donor George Soros.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has written to leaders in New Mexico calling on them to take action to prevent the militia from threatening migrant families.
“We cannot allow racist and armed vigilantes to kidnap and detain people seeking asylum,” ACLU attorneys wrote to New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamDemocrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms Hochul makes New York the 31st state to have had a female governor New Mexico indoor mask mandate returns with new vaccine requirements MORE (D).
Lujan Grisham said it is "completely unacceptable” that migrant families “might be menaced or threatened in any way, shape or form when they arrive at our border.”
“It should go without saying that regular citizens have no authority to arrest or detain anyone,” she said in a statement.