Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appeared to joke about the possibility that gun owners could take action against Hillary Clinton in remarks at a campaign rally Tuesday in Wilmington, N.C.
Trump was discussing the possibility that Clinton, the Democratic nominee, would be able to appoint liberal justices to the Supreme Court if she wins the race for the White House.
He then said that there was nothing that could be done in that scenario, before mentioning “Second Amendment folks.”
“Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the Second Amendment,” Trump said to boos from the crowd.
“By the way, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks,” he then added.
“Though the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”
After the comments won significant attention, the Trump campaign released a statement saying that Trump was referring to how the National Rifle Association and other backers of the Second Amendment had the political power to stop Clinton at the polls.
They also blamed the media for distorting Trump’s comments.
“It’s called the power of unification – 2nd Amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power,” Jason Miller, a top Trump aide, said in the statement.
“And this year, they will be voting in record numbers, and it won’t be for Hillary Clinton, it will be for Donald Trump.”
Trump also sought to clarify his comments in an interview with WNCN-North Carolina in which he said that those who support the Second Amendment have tremendous power because they are united.
“If Hillary Clinton gets elected, I think she’s going to decimate the Second Amendment, if not abolish it, ” he said. “And she’ll do that through judges, through the justices of the Supreme Court. But the Second Amendment people have tremendous power because they are so united.”
The Clinton campaign seized on the comments, arguing Trump was using dangerous rhetoric.
“This is simple — what Trump is saying is dangerous. A person seeking to be President of the United States should not suggest violence in any way,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said in a statement.
Other Democrats pounced on the comments, with Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) tweeting that the Secret Service must investigate Trump’s “threat.”
A spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service said it was aware of the comments.