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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. – President Donald Trump joked with the audience Wednesday at a Florida rally when someone in the crowd shouted a suggestion that migrants crossing into the United States from Mexico should be shot.
While addressing a crowd of thousands at an outdoor amphitheater in Panama City Beach, Trump discussed his concerns over the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump described the situation as a “national emergency,” saying the caravans headed to the United States were an “invasion,” according to Fox News.
At one point, he asked supporters, “How do you stop these people?”
“Shoot them!” someone could be heard shouting from the audience.
Laughter erupted from the crowd. The president briefly chuckled at the interjection, then shook his head and pointed in the direction of the audience member.
“That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement,” he said, as the crowd loudly cheered in response.
“Only in the Panhandle,” he repeated.
The exchange happened during an event aimed at rallying supporters in the reliably Republican corner of the swing state as Trump kicks his 2020 campaign efforts into high gear.
Trump promised a swift infusion of federal aid to the Florida Panhandle seven months after Hurricane Michael devastated some areas.
Federal emergency funds to the area hit by the Category 5 hurricane have been caught up in a Washington standoff over Trump’s opposition to more hurricane aid for Puerto Rico.
“You’re getting your money one way or another,” Trump promised supporters, holding up a chart showing federal emergency aid to Florida, Texas and the island territory, “And we’re not going to let anybody hold it up.”
This story was reported from Los Angeles. The Associated Press contributed.