Fact check: Trump falsely claims he didn’t call to lock up Hillary Clinton

Former President Donald Trump falsely claimed in a new interview that he didn’t make a “lock her up” call for the imprisonment of his Democratic opponent of the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton.

Trump, who faces the possibility of a prison sentence after he was convicted last week on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, was asked in an interview aired Sunday on Fox News about how he had “famously said… ‘lock her up’” in relation to Clinton but did not jail her when he was president.

During his answer, Trump said he had decided that imprisoning Clinton “would have been a terrible thing.” Then he added: “I didn’t say ‘lock her up,’ but the people would all say ‘lock her up, lock her up.’”

Facts First: Trump’s claim that “I didn’t say ‘lock her up’” is false. He called for Clinton’s imprisonment on multiple occasions, including by using the phrase “lock her up.”

Trump often used such rhetoric while criticizing Clinton’s email practices as secretary of state during the Obama administration, which prompted a federal investigation. She was never charged with a crime.

During campaign rallies in 2016, Trump sometimes paused his remarks as his supporters engaged in chants of “lock her up,” giving the chants time to continue. On other occasions, he explicitly repeated those words himself.

“For what she’s done, they should lock her up,” Trump said after the crowd chanted “lock her up” at an October 2016 rally in North Carolina.

“‘Lock her up’ is right,” he said at an October 2016 rally in Pennsylvania.

Trump also explicitly called for Clinton’s imprisonment using different phrasing.

“Hillary Clinton has to go to jail, OK? She has to go to jail,” he said in a June 2016 speech in California. “She has to go to jail,” he repeated in an October 2016 speech in Florida. And at a presidential debate in October 2016, after Clinton said, “It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country,” Trump responded, “Because you’d be in jail.”

Trump softened his rhetoric shortly after he defeated Clinton in the election, saying he didn’t want to hurt her and didn’t feel strongly about prosecuting her. In his 2020 campaign for reelection, though, he again made calls to “lock her up.”

“You should lock her up, I’ll tell you,” he said at a January 2020 rally in Ohio. At an October 2020 rally in Georgia, after the crowd chanted “lock them up” in relation to the Biden family, Trump said, “You should lock them up. Lock up the Bidens. Lock up Hillary.”

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