White House wants more ‘outrage’ over Johnny Depp comments

Olivier Knox
·Chief Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON — The White House on Friday complained about a “lack of outrage” towards violent language aimed at President Trump — even as it hosted a Trump campaign adviser who said last year that Hillary Clinton should be “shot for treason.”

Press secretary Sean Spicer had been asked about a production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” in which the assassinated Roman emperor is dressed and made up to look like Trump.

“I think it’s troubling, whether it’s that or Johnny Depp’s comments,” Spicer told reporters. “It is, frankly, my belief, real troubling the lack of outrage that we’ve seen in some of these instances where people have said what they have said with respect to the president and the actions that should be taken.”

Earlier, Depp apologized for controversial remarks he made Thursday at England’s Glastonbury Festival, during which he asked the audience, “When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?” The “21 Jump Street” actor described it as a “bad joke.”

Spicer continued, “The president’s made it clear we should denounce violence in all of its forms. And I think if we’re going to hold to that standard, then we should all agree that that standard should be universally called out.”

The spokesman also said, “It’s concerning when you see a pattern that these comments get made, these actions get depicted, and the lack of attention that they get when it’s on our side.”

Sean Spicer, left, and Johnny Depp
Sean Spicer, Johnny Depp. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Win McNamee/Getty Images, Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Spicer’s comments came after Trump signed a bill designed to help fix the Department of Veterans Affairs. In the East Room to witness the event was former Trump campaign adviser Al Baldasaro, who declared in July 2016 that Clinton should be “shot for treason” over her handling of Benghazi. Baldasaro’s presence was noted by pool reporter Maggie Haberman of the New York Times.

Asked about the apparent disconnect, Spicer said it was important to “condemn” all calls to political violence but said he was “not aware” of Baldasaro’s comments.

“But again, I’ll say right now that I don’t think that we should be resorting to that kind of language with respect to anybody in our country,” Spicer said.

The Secret Service is “aware” of Depp’s comments, according to spokesperson Mason Brayman. But Brayman declined to say whether the remarks would rate a visit from agency officers. “For operational security reasons, we do not discuss specifically or in general terms the means and methods of how we conduct our protective responsibilities,” Brayman said.

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