Trump took his repeated outlandish rhetoric to a new dangerous level today when he speculated shooting Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her potential picks for the Supreme Court.
“Hillary wants to abolish — essentially, abolish — the Second Amendment. By the way, if she gets to pick her judges — nothing you can do, folks,” he said at a Wilmington, North Carolina, rally. “Although, the Second Amendment people — maybe there is. I don’t know.”
Video via the Washington Post
Jason Miller, a spokesman for Trump, insisted Trump was speaking about the “political power” of Second Amendment supporters.
“It’s called the power of unification — Second Amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power,” Miller said. “And this year, they will be voting in record numbers, and it won’t be for Hillary Clinton, it will be for Donald Trump.”
Clinton’s campaign did not agree with the latest attempt to brush off Trump’s violent rhetoric.
“This is simple,” said Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager. “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 supporters have suggested violence toward Clinton before. Crowds at his rallies have taken to chant “lock her up” and “hang the b*tch” in reference to Clinton.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) took to Twitter to implore people to take Trump’s threats of violence seriously.
“Donald Trump suggested someone kill Sec. Clinton. We must take people at their word. @SecretService must investigate #TrumpThreat,” he tweeted.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) also emphasized the gravity of Trump’s words on Twitter.
“This isn’t play,” he wrote. “Unstable people with power guns and an unhinged hatred for Hillary are listening to you, @realDonaldTrump.”
Other people used the hashtag #TrumpThreat to call on other Republicans to disavow their party’s frontman.
— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) August 9, 2016
Dear someone in the Republican Party. Please stop this. It stopped being funny 50 racial insults ago. Today it’s scary. #TrumpThreat
— Sarah D K (@SarahD1973) August 9, 2016
Following his earlier comments, Trump on Tuesday evening insisted in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity that his comments were not serious — and that no one should interpret them as such. After Hannity said Trump was “obviously” talking about mobilizing Second Amendment voters, Trump responded in agreement.
“It was amazing, because nobody in that room thought anything other than what you just said,” he told Hannity, adding, “There can be no other interpretation. Even reporters have told me. I mean, give me a break.”
The Secret Service has not yet responded directly to the comments.
Republicans still refuse to disavow Trump. During the Fox interview Trump also spoke about his support from Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions (R), who spoke about Trump on CNN on Tuesday.
“I don’t believe this is a serious statement,” Sessions told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. He added that the statement “may have been awkwardly phrased.”
“But even if he was joking, it’s not something you joke about,” pressed Blitzer.
“You absolutely shouldn’t joke about it,” Sessions said. “It’s contrary to everything we believe in.”
Speaker Paul Ryan once again refused to take back his endorsement for the candidate and did not appear to take the statement seriously.
“It sounds like just a joke gone bad. I hope he clears it up very quickly,” he said. “You should never joke about something like that.”
The National Rifle Association (NRA) tweeted out following the incident, agreeing with Trump’s assessment but ignoring the perceived threat against Clinton.
— NRA (@NRA) August 9, 2016
The NRA previously endorsed Trump. However, the organization spoke against him in June, saying Trump’s belief that the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando should have been armed “defies common sense.”
This is a developing story. Check back for more details. To receive the latest updates, be sure to sign up for the DiversityInc newsletter.