The Secret Service paid a visit to Tom Arnold last month after he tweeted challenging Donald Trump to a fight, the actor confirmed Monday.
In a video Arnold sent to Mother Jones published on Monday, the “True Lies” star 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 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.'”
Arnold released a statement about the visit on Twitter on Monday, writing, “Thank you David Corn for your fine work as always. Thank you US Secret Service for risking your lives keeping democracy safe. I appreciate you coming to my home on what must’ve been a busy day. I heard your message loud & clear. Words matter. Tone matters. Words can incite violence. Be responsible.”
He continued, “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.”
The Secret Service’s visit was allegedly over a tweet Arnold sent in October in which he challenged 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.”
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!”
This isn’t Arnold’s first brush with the law. In September, it was revealed that the LAPD was investigating an alleged physical altercation between the comedian and “Apprentice” producer Mark Burnett.
Arnold accused Burnett of choking him at a pre-Emmys party, while Burnett’s wife, actress Roma Downey, claimed that Arnold caused her to get a bruise on her hand when he allegedly “ambushed” the couple. Arnold filed a police report about the incident but Los Angeles prosecutors later declined to take the case.
The funnyman’s Viceland documentary series, “The Hunt for the Trump Tapes,” premiered the same month.