Trump Pretends He Never Called for Hillary to Be Locked Up

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

As the saying sort of goes: Those who do not learn from history are destined to try desperately to rewrite it.

Fresh off his felony conviction on 34 counts of falsifying business records, Donald Trump went on television to insist that he never directly called for the imprisonment of one of his old political enemies.

“Hillary Clinton—I didn’t say, ‘Lock her up,’ but the people would all say, ‘Lock her up, lock her up,’” he said on Fox & Friends Weekend. “OK. Then we won, and I said pretty openly, I’d say, ‘Alright, come on, just relax. Let’s go. We gotta make our country great.’”

It had been Will Cain, sitting opposite Trump alongside co-hosts Rachel Campos-Duffy and Pete Hegseth, who’d provoked the former president’s remark. “You famously said, regarding Hillary Clinton, ‘Lock her up.’ You declined to do that as president,” Cain pointed out.

“I beat her,” Trump replied. “It’s easier when you win. And they always said lock her up, and I felt—and I could have done it, but I felt it would have been a terrible thing. And then this happened to me.” He then launched into asserting that he’d never called for Clinton’s jailing.

None of the hosts pushed back on his claim. “But they want to lock you up over $130,000 of an accounting thing,” Campos-Duffy offered instead.

“And a perfectly stated accounting thing,” Trump replied.

Of course, Trump encouraged his supporters’ rallying cry during his first presidential campaign, and even used it several times himself. (Though Clinton was under intense scrutiny at the time amid a federal investigation into her classified email scandal, she was never charged with a crime.)

“Every time I mention [Clinton], everyone screams, ‘Lock her up, lock her up,’” Trump said at a July 2016 rally in Colorado. “You know what, I’m starting to agree with you.”

Three months later, he told a North Carolina crowd that “for what she’s done, they should lock her up” and a Pennsylvania audience that “‘lock her up’ is right.”

He deployed the infamous phrase as recently as 2020. On the same January night the Justice Department closed its two-year probe into Clinton’s emails, Ohio fans chanted “lock her up” at a Trump rally. “You should lock her up, I’ll tell you,” he agreed.

“You should lock them up,” Trump added that October in Georgia. “Lock up the Bidens, lock up Hillary.”

Trump is set to be sentenced on July 11. Though experts have agreed it is unlikely he will receive jail time for the class E felony charges, especially given his status as a first-time offender, each count of falsifying business records in the first degree does technically carry a maximum term of four years behind bars. He could also be fined or sentenced to home confinement or probation.

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