To Trump officials, creeping authoritarianism is just a big joke.
In a jaw-dropping moment Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions laughed and joined in when an auditorium full of teenagers chanted, "Lock her up!"
Sessions was speaking at Turning Point USA’s High School Leadership Summit, a four-day conference for conservative high school students.
When the crowd started chanting, Sessions chuckled and repeated, "Lock her up."
The chant refers to Hillary Clinton, and was ubiquitous on the Trump campaign trail in 2016. Trump frequently egged his supporters on when they chanted it at rallies, and even repeated the chant from the stage himself.
Now, the nation's top law enforcement officer is encouraging the nation's youth to cheer the idea of jailing political opponents.
A reminder: The FBI's investigation into Clinton's private email use while she was secretary of state found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing on Clinton's part. And since then, Trump and many of his staffers have used private emails and unsecured cell phones to conduct government business, showing that they never really cared about Clinton's cybersecurity practices.
Yet two years after the 2016 campaign, Trump and his supporters continue to insist that Clinton, Trump's former opponent who is now a private citizen, should be thrown in jail for no reason.
Trump has often criticized Sessions for not being loyal enough to him. Now, Sessions is parroting one of Trump's most toxic and authoritarian talking points.
And this isn't even the first time this week a Trump official has done something shockingly authoritarian.
On Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders casually dropped the news that Trump is considering revoking the security clearances of former national security officials who served under President Obama and have publicly criticized Trump.
This is what tinpot dictatorships do — not the United States of America.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.