Comedic actor and Trump critic Tom Arnold — also known as Roseanne Barr’s ex-husband — recently received a visit from U.S. Secret Service agents. The actor had challenged the president to a fight and suggested that Trump would lose his life — and head — in such an altercation in social media postings.
Leftist media outlet Mother Jones obtained video of the reportedly hour-long meeting held between Arnold and the agents on Oct. 25, which was captured on Arnold’s home security cameras. The meeting was intended to determine if Arnold himself posed a threat to the president, as well as to serve as a warning that his inflammatory postings on social media could incite his fans to also pose a threat to the president.
Threat of physical violence
Arnold’s concerning social media posts had come in response to Trump’s joking reference to a 2017 incident in which Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte body-slammed a mouthy liberal reporter — an incident for which Gianforte has since apologized.
“Greg is smart,” Trump said at an October rally in Montana, adding, “By the way, never wrestle him. Any guy that can do a body slam… he’s my guy.”
Arnold was incensed by Trump’s reference of physicality against a reporter, and posted to Twitter, “I say put up or shut up
@realDonaldTrump Me vs You. For America. First body slam wins. Any Rally. Any Time. Between now & the midterms.”
He followed that tweet with another, which has since been deleted, that referenced comedian Kathy Griffin’s atrocious “Trump beheading” photo shoot stunt, and wrote, “Next time Kathy won’t be holding his fake head!”
Inflammatory postings can be influential
To his credit, Arnold appeared courteous and respectful to the Secret Service agents who visited his home — though that obsequiousness may have stemmed from the reality that it’s much easier to be a blowhard on Twitter than when government agents are sitting in your living room.
The agents ultimately made it clear that they understood Arnold’s remarks didn’t pose a serious physical threat to the president himself.
However, they also cautioned him to consider the impact his threatening rhetoric and suggestions could have on others.
“But what we have to worry about is your type of audience and you say something inciting those that follow you,” they said. “You might be, might be using it in a comedian-type sense, or whatever, you know, being very comical about it. But there’s a lot of people out there who may really follow Tom Arnold. ‘He said this, and that’s the exact thing I needed that. I need to go get this and go ahead to the next rally, yeah, and carry this out.’ But you might have meant it in something like a playful jest.”
Watch the interview below:
The Secret Service checks out virtually every threat against the president posted to social media — they’ve no doubt been quite busy the past two years — and that includes postings by snarky anti-Trump celebrities whose threats may only be for effect.
Even if Tom Arnold truly was just joking about wanting to fight and/or behead President Trump, some of his followers may not have picked up on the humor and feel compelled and inspired to take action against the president themselves, making the job of the Secret Service that much tougher, which is why the agents urged Arnold — among countless others — to think twice before posting inflammatory messages to social media that could be construed as threats.