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Donald Trump Speaks In South Carolina As He Campaigns For President

Former President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd during a campaign rally on September 25, 2023, in Summerville, South Carolina. | Source: Sean Rayford / Getty

Much has been made about whether Donald Trump broke the law when he stopped at a gun store in South Carolina and allegedly purchased a Glock, which would be illegal for someone under a federal indictment.

As previously reported, a rep for Trump said the ex-president did by a gun at the shop Monday, but then quickly turned around and essentially said, “Sike, y’all know he ain’t buy that thang.” (I’m paraphrasing, of course.) But there’s still a lot of speculation out there about whether he bought the firearm, especially since there’s a video floating around of him in the store saying, “I want to buy one” like he’s a child in a toy store (which, when it comes to Second Amendment enthusiasts in gun stores, that’s pretty much exactly what they are).

Now, if Trump is out here committing federal felonies while under federal indictment for allegedly committing federal felonies, that’s certainly a story worth focusing on. But many of us would be surprised if it gets added to the ever-growing list of alleged criminal actions he’s being prosecuted for. It just seems unlikely, which is why it’s arguable that the lede in this story is getting buried.

Donald Trump didn’t just stop at any gun store in South Carolina, he stopped at the Palmetto State Armory gun shop, a firearm company in S.C. where Ryan Christopher Palmeter purchased at least one weapon that he used last month to target Black people at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Florida, three of whom he shot and killed.

Setting aside the question of whether Trump actually purchased the gun, why is the frontrunner in the GOP presidential race doing his gun rights political posturing at a gun company that was widely reported as the one that supplied guns to a white supremacist killer? Isn’t he supposed to be the No. 1 Republican candidate for the Blacks? Trump isn’t racist, it’s the Black prosecutors who are prosecuting him that are racist, amirite?

But fine, let’s also set aside that Donald Trump is a demonstrable racist. Let’s say for the sake of the MAGA crowd’s lame but inevitable excuse: What if Trump simply didn’t know it was the same gun company?

Well, why didn’t he?

Why didn’t Trump, the frontrunner in the GOP’s desperate scramble to increase Black voter support, know that the gun shop he was treating like a campaign stop was of the same chain where Palmeter purchased guns used to shoot and kill Black people? This was a high-profile, nationally reported racist mass shooting. Did Trump, the king of simultaneously gaslighting and pandering to Black people, not bother to at least take a few notes on the event? If he cares so much about “my African American” supporters, the least he could do is not show up at a white supremacist killer’s gun supplier.

Even if Trump’s visit to this particular gun shop wasn’t an intentional display of Trump-brand racism, which some believe it was, it indicates that in his haste to further galvanize his gun-humping MAGA base with a gun store photo-op, he went out of his way to support the gun company connected to a racist mass shooting. It indicates that his purported support of the Black community is superficial and for political purposes only.

Not that we didn’t already know all of that.


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