USA TODAY - Former Illinois congressman and conservative radio host Joe Walsh appeared to invite armed insurrection when he tweeted that he was "grabbing his musket" if Hillary Clinton defeats Donald Trump in the presidential election.
"On November 8th, I'm voting for Trump," Walsh tweeted. "On November 9th, if Trump loses, I'm grabbing my musket."
On November 8th, I'm voting for Trump.— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) October 26, 2016
On November 9th, if Trump loses, I'm grabbing my musket.
"@WalshFreedom what exactly does that mean?" CNN's Jake Tapper tweeted in reply.
"@jaketapper It means protesting," Walsh tweeted. "Participating in acts of civil disobedience. Doing what it takes to get our country back."
Walsh's rhetoric comes as Americans are already nervous about what will happen on and after Election Day. Trump's insistence that the election is "rigged," and his statement at the last debate that he would keep America "in suspense" about whether or not he will accept the results, have left some in fear that violence could flare up if his supporters refuse to accept the outcome.
More than half of Americans expressed concern about violence on election day according to a USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll released Wednesday.
Walsh dismissed another Twitter user's concern that his call to arms could draw the attention of the Secret Service saying, "They understand that a musket hasn't been used in battle in almost 200 years."
Nope. They understand that a musket hasn't been used in battle in almost 200 years. https://t.co/sZRrOd02xJ— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) October 26, 2016
"I'm serious," Walsh tweeted later. "I don't think a musket would do much good these days, but it's time for civil disobedience on the right."
I'm serious. I don't think a musket would do much good these days, but it's time for civil disobedience on the right. https://t.co/ThJPEbALWZ— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) October 26, 2016
Walsh repeated his defense that he was only speaking of civil disobedience to NBC's Chicago affiliate. "We're talking about a musket," Walsh said, according to NBC 5 Chicago. "I could've said grab your slingshot and let's go. Metaphorically, I meant grab your muskets, if Trump loses, man, we're going to do what we have to do. We're going to protest and boycott and practice civil disobedience. We may start a third party."
This wasn't the first time Walsh, who served one term before being defeated by Rep. Tammy Duckworth in 2012, drew criticism for an incendiary tweet. In July he got national attention for telling President Obama to "watch out" after five police officers were killed by a shooter in Dallas.
"3 Dallas Cops killed, 7 wounded," Walsh tweeted in a post that has since been deleted. "This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you."
Copyright 2016 USA TODAY