By Bonnie K. Goodman
Another day and another controversy surrounding Republican nominee Donald Trump, this time, the nominee implied assassinating his opponent Hillary Clinton would solve problems. At a Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 9, 2016, rally at the Trask Coliseum at North Carolina University in Wilmington, Trump said the Second Amendment people could stop Clinton from picking Supreme Court Justices and other federal judges.
At the rally, Trump shocked supporters, saying, “Hillary wants to abolish — essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, if she gets to pick, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.” Continuing the GOP nominee said, “But I tell you what, that will be a horrible day, if Hillary gets to put her judges in, right now we’re tied.”
Although Trump meant to imply the second amendment voters, the double entendre seems to suggest Trump thought they could assassinate Clinton as a solution. The implication immediately caused a firestorm.
Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook immediately responded on Twitter, writing, “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.”
Clinton did not respond immediately, but her vice presidential running mate did, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine that Trump has “just no understanding for the role of leader. I just think it’s a window into the soul of a person who is temperamentally not suited for the task.”
Trump’s senior communications adviser, Jason Miller, issued a statement afterward, clarifying, “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.”
Meanwhile, Trump also tried to clarify his remarks telling Fox News’ Sean Hannity in the evening, “This is a political movement. This is a strong political movement, the Second Amendment. And there can be no other interpretation. Even reporters have told me. I mean, give me a break.”
Trump vice presidential running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, backed up him. Pence gave an interview with local Philadelphia TV station NBC10. The VP nominee told them, “Donald Trump is clearly saying is that people who cherish that right, who believe that firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens makes our communities more safe, not less safe, should be involved in the political process and let their voice be heard.”
The National Rifle Association also supported Trump’s remarks with getting out the vote tweets. The NRA wrote, “@RealDonaldTrump is right. If @HillaryClinton gets to pick her anti-#2A #SCOTUS judges, there’s nothing we can do. #NeverHillary,” and “But there IS something we will do on #ElectionDay: Show up and vote for the #2A! #DefendtheSecond #NeverHillary.”
One member of the House, Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif. asked the Secret Service to investigate Trump’s remarks, and wrote on Twitter, that Trump “suggested someone kill Sec. Clinton.” A leading proponent of gun control legislation, Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, also tweeted. Murphy who filibustered the legislation in June, wrote, “This isn’t play. Unstable people with powerful guns and an unhinged hatred for Hillary are listening to you,” Murphy also tweeted, “Don’t treat this as a political misstep. It’s an assassination threat, seriously upping the possibility of a national tragedy & crisis.”@realDonaldTrump.”