Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona called on his own party members this week to stop saying that presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton belongs in prison.
Flake tweeted on July 19: "@HillaryClinton now belongs in prison? C'mon. We can make the case that she shouldn't be elected without jumping the shark."
Flake wrote in a blog posting on Medium.com on July 20:
...Republicans are not going to defeat Hillary Clinton in November by insisting that she belongs in prison any more than we defeated Barack Obama by pretending that he was born in Kenya. So let’s drop the references to orange pant suits and chants of "lock her up."
These jokes and bromides may play well in rare venues and limited circles, but they cheapen the very real arguments that need to be made to the broader public against a Hillary Clinton presidency.
Vox reported that three GOP speakers at the Republican National Convention (RNC) on July 18 called for locking Clinton up.
The first was Colorado U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn, who said that Clinton "deserves a bright orange jumpsuit."
The second was retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who agreed with the crowd when it chanted, "Lock her up!" Flynn came back with, "Lock her up, that’s right! It’s unbelievable!"
Pat Smith, mom of Sean Smith, an American who perished in the terrorist attack in Benghazi, yelled, "That’s right, Hillary for prison! She deserves to be in stripes!"
Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey held a mock prosecution of Clinton during his speech on July 19, and asked the crowd repeatedly, "Is Hillary Clinton guilty or not guilty?"
The crowd said "guilty" each time, and also broke into a chant: "Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!"
Vox notes that FBI Director James Comey said earlier this year that "no reasonable prosecutor" would bring a criminal case against Clinton for using a private email server.
However, in a July 11 poll, almost 90 percent of Republicans believed that Clinton should be charged with a crime (although it's not clear what crime) regarding her private email server.
Additionally, it's been widely reported that delegates at the RNC are wearing gear that says: "Hillary for prison."