The nephew and sister of President John F. Kennedy and Democratic Sen. Robert F. Kennedy of New York condemned Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for making a remark they believed was a joke about assassinating Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
During a rally in North Carolina Aug. 9, Trump told supporters that a Clinton presidency would result in Supreme Court justice picks who would roll back the Second Amendment.
“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” Trump said, according to The New York Times. “Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.”
Although the Trump campaign has insisted that the remark was about Second Amendment activists mobilizing to defeat Clinton at the ballot box in November, media pundits have repeatedly argued that the GOP nominee was actually hinting about assassinating Clinton if she wins the presidential election.
“So it was with a real sense of sadness and revulsion that we listened to Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, as he referred to the options available to 'Second Amendment people,' a remark widely, and we believe correctly, interpreted as a thinly veiled reference or 'joke' about the possibility of political assassination," wrote William Kennedy Smith and Jean Kennedy Smith in The Washington Post.
They continued: “By now, we have heard enough dark and offensive rhetoric from Trump to know that it reflects something fundamentally troubled, and troubling, about his candidacy. Trump’s remarks frequently, if not inevitably, spark outrage, which is followed by a clarification that, in lieu of an apology, seeks to attribute the dark undertones of his words to the listener’s twisted psyche. This fools no one.”
John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 in Dallas and Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968 in Los Angeles. Robert F. Kennedy was widely expected to win the Democratic nomination for president before he was killed.
In 2008, when Clinton was expected to lose the Democratic primary to then Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, she refused to drop out of the race and said, “we all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California,” reported The New York Times.
At the time, Clinton was widely criticized for publicly insinuating Obama, on his way to becoming the first black presidential candidate of a major party, might be assassinated.
She later apologized.