Donald Trump faced a swift backlash on Tuesday after he suggested that gun enthusiasts would be able to stop Hillary Clinton from taking away their Second Amendment rights.
“Hillary wants to abolish — essentially abolish — the Second Amendment,” the Republican nominee said at a rally in Wilmington, N.C., on Tuesday afternoon. “And if she gets to pick, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do.”
Trump added: “But the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don’t know.”
Gwen Rocco, a member of the Clinton campaign’s rapid response team, quickly condemned Trump’s comments.
“This is simple,” Clinton campaign spokesman Robby Mook said in a statement. “What Trump is saying is dangerous. A person seeking to be the President of the United States should not suggest violence in any way.”
The Trump campaign dismissed the controversy.
“It’s called the power of unification,” Jason Miller, Trump senior communications adviser, said in a statement. “Second 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.”
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, introducing Trump at a later event in Fayetteville, N.C., said “to buy that you’d have to be corrupt,” brushing aside any particular insinuation that Trump was saying violence against Clinton or Supreme Court justices would be acceptable.
“It proves that most of the press is in the tank for Hillary Clinton,” Giuliani said.
Former CIA director Michael Hayden didn’t buy that explanation.
— CNN (@CNN) August 9, 2016
“You’re not only responsible for what you say; you’re responsible for what others hear,” Hayden said on CNN, adding that if someone other than Trump had said the same thing at the rally, “they’d be in a police wagon being questioned by Secret Service.”
Last month, Al Baldasaro, a New Hampshire state representative and Trump surrogate, told a radio host that Clinton “should be put in the firing line and shot for treason.”
In response, the U.S. Secret Service said it was aware of Baldasaro’s comments and would ” conduct the appropriate investigation.”
For it’s part, the bureau seemed to acknowledged Trump’s Tuesday comments.
The Secret Service is aware of the comments made earlier this afternoon.
— U.S. Secret Service (@SecretService) August 9, 2016