State Rep. Comments 'Firing Squad' Against Hillary Clinton On Post
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma - After seeming to advocate that Hillary Clinton should be put in front of a firing squad, Rep. John Bennett (R-Sallisaw) laughed off questions of criticism calling the post, "barracks talk."
The post, which was taken down after an interview with News 9, read “2 words… firing squad” above a picture of Clinton with link to a story alleging Clinton and the Obama administration stopped pentagon officials from sending aid during the attack on the Libyan consulate in Benghazi in 2011.
When asked if he was advocating for the execution of Sec. Clinton, Bennett said no.
“It amazes me that anyone would think that. I don’t advocate anybody kill anybody for any reason,” he said. “It was a post on my Facebook page just my feelings coming out on Facebook. How many people times did people call for Bush to be put in front of a firing squad?” Bennett said referencing President George W. Bush.
Bennett, however, did not shy away from his opinion. He stated he thinks Hillary Clinton has committed treason and said the punishment for that was likely a firing squad but would settle for a jail sentence.
“I'd be happy to see her behind bars in an orange jumpsuit,” he said.
His Facebook post comes after the Donald Trump campaign has been embroiled in several similar instances of either Trump or his surrogates seeming to call for the assassination of Clinton. At one rally back in August, Trump suggested “second amendment people” take matters into their own hands. Another surrogate, Al Baldasaro said he also believes Clinton has committed treason and “anyone who commits treason should be shot,” among other instances.
Bennett said he has not been in contact with the U.S. Secret Service, which has investigated previous similar statements made against both candidates. Bennett said it would be “silly” if the Secret Service contacted him about the post.
“Just because I'm a public official doesn't mean I don't get to exercise my first amendment right,” he said.
A News 9 source close to Secret Service operations called the post “poor taste” and said Bennett “definitely needs to explain this.”
Bennett characterizing the post as “barracks talk” seems to be a play on the recent excuse Trump made after a 2005 video surfaced of him bragging about actions of sexual assault while wearing a hot mic on an Access Hollywood bus. Trump described his description as “locker room talk,” presumably a reference to conversation among men in private. Bennett described “barracks talk” as dark humor said among soldiers in barracks. Bennett is a former Marine.
While the post was specifically about the attack on the Benghazi consulate, Bennett said Clinton was guilty of treason for other reasons and included Clinton’s long-time aid Huma Abedin.
“[Clinton’s] committed other actions as well. Same thing with Huma Abedin. She has ties to terrorism. She's aiding and abetting the enemy against the U.S. government,” he said.
Abedin, a Muslim, has been accused of being a “Saudi asset” in the past with links to a radical, Sharia law newspaper. Those claims have been debunked. Abedin’s mother edits an academic journal which the Washington Post’s Factchecker blog called a “sober academic journal with a range of viewpoints on Muslim life around the world.”
Bennett, however, has been criticized as an Islamophobe. As recently as last week, he held a hearing about an interim study on radical Islam and terrorism in Oklahoma. During the hearing in which he said having the Council on American-Islamic Relations to operate in Oklahoma was “about as ridiculous as allowing a Nazi to fully operate in Israel.” Bennett has also denied Islam is a fully-fledged religion and called it a “cancer.”
Bennett is currently running against Democrat Tom Stites for his seat this November.