President Donald Trump, at a rally in Panama City, Florida on Wednesday night, mocked some of the candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination. His targets included Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. (May 9)

President Donald Trump was tickled Wednesday when an audience member at a Florida rally suggested shooting migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Trump was bemoaning the legal protections afforded migrants and espousing the need for a border wall when he asked rhetorically, “How do you stop these people?”

“Shoot them!” someone shouted from the Panama City Beach crowd, according to multiple news media reports. 

The remark drew a chuckle from the president, who then shook his head, pointed in the audience member’s direction and said, “Only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement.” 

“Only in the Panhandle,” he repeated to laughs and cheers from the crowd. 

Prior to the interruption, Trump had mentioned “border security people” who he said are not permitted to use weapons on the migrants.

“I mean, when you have 15,000 people marching up, and you have hundreds and hundreds of people, and you have two or three border security people that are brave and great – and don’t forget, we don’t let them and we can’t let them use weapons. We can’t. Other countries do. We can’t. I would never do that,” he said. 

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Trump was apparently referring to the rules Border Patrol agents must follow before using force.

In November, Trump suggested that the U.S. troops he deployed could fire on migrants who throw rocks and later that month the White House approved a memo authorizing those troops to use lethal force on migrants if necessary. The Wall: Border vigilantes, and the wall they might be watching

During an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity in March, Trump said the threat of deadly force is a “very effective” way to deter migrants, but said the U.S. “can’t do it.” 

“We need to defend our country. You have people pouring in,” he told Hannity. “Now, we’re capturing these people, we’re getting them. But we don’t do like other countries. Other countries stand there with machine guns ready to fire. We can’t do that and I wouldn’t want to do that.”