August 9th, 2016 – Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump issued another one-liner today that set off waves of speculation as to what he actually meant. While speaking in Wilmington, North Carolina, the Commander-in-Chief contender delved into how Hillary Clinton’s Supreme Court judge nominations would affect gun rights if she were elected.
“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,” Trump said.
The comment triggered a familiar response from the media and from supporters of both candidates. On the heels of his comment to Russia encouraging the hacking of Clinton’s emails, the response was again to either explain and defend the remark or call it out for being careless and irresponsible. Was he encouraging people to threaten her life, was he calling for political involvement or was he simply making a joke?
Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, quickly released a statement denouncing the words. “This is simple – what Trump is saying is dangerous. A person seeking to the be president of the United States should not suggest violence in any way,” he said.
However, Trump’s senior communications adviser, Jason Miller, pointed to unification as a defense. He claims that Trump was appealing to a spirited group of people to band together at the voting polls. “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,” he said.
The spin of unity did not hold up for a number of Washington players. The former head of the CIA, Gen. Michael Hayden, told CNN “If someone else had said that said outside the hall, he’d be in the back of a police wagon now with the Secret Service questioning him. You’re not just responsible for what you say. You are responsible for what people hear.”
The notion of responsibility for what people hear was also addressed by U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell and Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy as they cautioned the consequences of real threats.
Donald Trump suggested someone kill Sec. Clinton. We must take people at their word. @SecretService must investigate #TrumpThreat.
Trump supporters who were in attendance of the rally spoke to Buzzfeed in defense of Trump’s comments affirming that he is speaking his mind and relying on 2nd Amendment supporters to show up to the polls. “He can’t be bought, so he’s going to say what he’d like to say,” said Henson. “And if he does half of what he says he’ll do, he’ll do more than any president since Ronald Reagan,” Joe Henson said. “I think he meant that, because the NRA is powerful, a lobbying group, they’ll go in and make sure it doesn’t happen,” another supporter voiced.
Watch the clip below, and let us know what you think. Were Trump’s comments a joke/push for unification or was it an irresponsible incitement of violence?