Tom Arnold got himself a visit from the Secret Service last month after he challenged President Donald Trump to a fight, the “actor” confirmed Monday.
The Secret Service’s visit was over a tweet Tom Arnold sent in October in which he challenged President Trump to a fight.
“I say put up or shut up @realDonaldTrump Me vs You. For America,” Arnold, 59, tweeted on Oct. 19. “First body slam wins. Any Rally. Any Time. Between now & the midterms. #FridayFeeling.”
Tom Arnold’s tweet was in reply to a statement from the White House Correspondents Association rebuking President Trump for praising Montana Re. Greg Gianforte for bodyslamming Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs.
Arnold followed with a since-deleted tweet referencing comedian Kathy Griffin’s infamous anti-Trump photoshoot, writing, “Next time Kathy won’t be holding his fake head!”
In a video Tom Arnold sent to Mother Jones on Monday, he is seen speaking with agents in his Los Angeles home on Oct. 25.
“We’re not the First Amendment police,” one agent says in the clip. “You’re free to say whatever you want … [but] once a certain line is crossed … what we’re concerned with is the type of audience it could reach, that it could incite somebody.”
Arnold was cooperative with the agents and explained that he understood the ramifications of his posts.
“I did see a crazy reaction to it from people,” Arnold admitted. “I get a lot of death threats. There’s a certain element — I don’t know if they’re bots — I just ignore it … But I also see how they take something and they blow it up like, ‘He is literally threatening to …’ And I find that absurd, but I can see how, obviously if people are tweeting … they can call you guys and have you come over. That’s ridiculous, but I understand why you’re here.”
One of the Secret Service agents explained to Arnold that assassination attempts on presidents are often “motivated by somebody.”
“What we have to worry about is your type of audience and you say something inciting those that follow you,” the second agent concurred. “You 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 and carry this out.'”
Tom Arnold released a statement about the Secret Service visit on Twitter on Monday, writing, “Thank you
He then added, “I’m sorry Donald Trump hasn’t listened to you all the times you’ve had this exact conversation with him. I’m sorry the President & the White House say things they know could incite violence on the media & US citizens almost daily. I’m sorry because Secret Service agents are more at risk than anyone & as I learned you are people with kids just like me who just want to know the best place to trick or treat.”
This isn’t Tom Arnold’s first brush with the law. In September, the LAPD was confirmed they were investigating an alleged physical altercation between the comedian and “Apprentice” producer Mark Burnett.
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