President Trump chuckled and joked when a supporter at his Florida rally suggested shooting immigrants as a way to decrease migrant crossings at the southern U.S. border on Wednesday night.
Ranting about the recent influx of asylum-seeking migrants before a crowd in Panama City, the president complained about how “crazy” it is that those seeking asylum in the U.S. get to see judges before claiming there are only “two or three border security people who are brave” that are forced to deal with “15,000 people marching up.”
“Don’t forget, we don’t let them and we can’t let them use weapons,” Trump continued. “We can’t. Other countries do. We can’t. I would never do that.”
Asking how to “stop these people,” a rallygoer close to the stage shouted: “Shoot ’em!”
The crowd erupted in laughter as the president grinned and shook his head. Without condemning or condoning the suggestion, Trump attempted to brush it off with a joke.
“That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement, folks,” he exclaimed. “Only in the Panhandle!”
While the president hasn’t endorsed using gunfire to deter migrants from approaching the border, he did tell Fox News’ Sean Hannity in March that it could be a “very effective” method.
“Now we are capturing these people,” Trump said. “We are getting them but we don’t do it like other countries. Other countries stand there with machine guns, ready to fire.”
He added: “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.”