Tom Arnold was questioned by the Secret Service last month for messages that could be perceived as threats against President Trump. The Hunt for the Trump Tapes host found himself in hot water after he challenged the president to a fight on Twitter.
— Tom Arnold (@TomArnold) October 19, 2018
When a fan suggested that Kathy Griffin officiate the fight, Arnold tweeted — and deleted — “Next time Kathy won’t be holding his fake head!” He was referring to Griffin’s controversial photo shoot in which she appeared to be holding the president’s severed head.
On Oct. 24, the Secret Service office in Los Angeles reached out to Arnold’s agent and arranged to send two agents to the actor’s home the next day. The agency was acting on instructions from Washington, D.C., headquarters, perhaps after being alerted to the messages by people on Twitter.
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) October 21, 2018
— Meech (@michi83) October 21, 2018
Arnold videotaped the Oct. 25 interview with the feds and gave the footage to Mother Jones. Apparently, the agents were aware he was filming the conversation. The hourlong talk took place in Arnold’s living room, and the website posted a three-minute snippet of the sit-down.
“We’re not the First Amendment police,” one agent can be heard saying. “You’re free to say whatever you want to say within certain boundaries. … In your type of case, what we’re concerned with a lot, too, is the audience it can reach, that it could incite somebody to do something.”
“You see, a lot of times when we’ve had previous attempts on the president’s life, they got motivated by somebody. … So that’s the worry,” the agent continued. “It’s kind of twofold. We’re addressing the tweet, but we also want to make sure what you said, what can be taken as—”
“Absolutely,” Arnold interjected.
“And then obviously that at the end of this whole thing, the biggest thing is we make sure it doesn’t happen again,” added the agent.
“Absolutely,” Arnold concurred.
The second agent reiterated that their main concern was that Arnold’s message could inspire others to carry out violence on his behalf.
“What we have to worry about is your type of audience, and you say something inciting those who follow you. … You might be, might be using it in a comedian-type sense, or whatever, you know, being very comical about it,” the second agent said, “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, yeah, and carry this out.’ But you might have meant it in something like a playful jest.”
According to Mother Jones, Arnold explained that his Griffin tweet was “a random throw-away” and said he was appalled by the photo shoot. “I would never be part of something like that,” he noted.
The agents also questioned Arnold’s wife, Ashley. “Is there anything we should be concerned about? … Anything of a particular nature to the president? … Any unusual behavior?” one reportedly asked. She shook her head.
“We always are more concerned about who you could motivate or incite to that action,” the agent explained, and without pause, Ashley responded, “That’s how we feel about Trump.”
Arnold was courteous to the agents and promised he would “stay away” from tweets and statements that could be misinterpreted as a threat.
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment: