During a rally in Wilmington, North Carolina Tuesday, Donald Trump spoke about his opponent Hillary Clinton’s stance on gun control given the president’s power to appoint a Supreme Court Justice. The GOP frontrunner implied that in the event of a Clinton presidency, taking up arms might be the way to retaliate.
“Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the Second Amendment,” Trump said, per CBS’ Sopan Deb. “And by the way, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”
While the remark was characteristically glib, it finds Trump again encouraging violence at his rallies. Worse, it marks a harrowing jump from threatening protestors to suggesting either an armed revolt or the assassination of a president.
In a statement, Trump’s senior communications advisor Jason Miller insisted the candidate was merely referring to the power of Second Amendment supporters to vote (even though Trump was discussing a scenario in which Clinton had already been elected president). “It’s called the power of unification — 2nd Amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power. And this year, they will be voting in record numbers, and it won’t be for Hillary Clinton, it will be for Donald Trump.”
Since Trump’s statement, the National Rifle Association tweeted its support, saying “Donald Trump is right,” and that if Clinton is elected president, there is “nothing we can do.”
— NRA (@NRA) August 9, 2016
Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook, meanwhile, issued a statement condemning Trump’s rhetoric: “This is simple — what Trump is saying is dangerous. A person seeking to be the president of the United States should not suggest violence in any way.”
Trump’s comment comes just one day after the Republican nominee’s economic policy speech, which many saw as an attempt to get his campaign back on track after a week of feuding with congressional Republicans and Gold Star parents Khizr and Ghazala Khan.