Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told a rally crowd in Wilmington, North Carolina, on Aug. 9 that if Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is elected, then "Second Amendment people" may be able to stop her from choosing U.S. Supreme Court judges (video below).
"Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment," Trump told the crowd, notes POLITICO. "By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know. But I’ll tell you what, that will be a horrible day."
Clinton has never said she would abolish the Second Amendment, and she would not be able to simply approve U.S. Supreme Court judges as she saw fit because judges must be confirmed by the Senate.
Beyond Trump's inaccurate claims, many political observers saw a threat of political violence against Clinton.
"This is simple -- what Trump is saying is dangerous," Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said in a statement, reports The Hill. "A person seeking to be President of the United States should not suggest violence in any way."
Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut responded with a series of tweets later that day:
Was [Donald Trump] suggesting his supporters shoot Hillary? Shoot her nominee? Who knows. It's all so disgusting and embarrassing and sad.
This isn't play. Unstable people with powerful guns and an unhinged hatred for Hillary are listening to you.
Don't treat this as a political misstep. It's an assassination threat, seriously upping the possibility of a national tragedy & crisis.
Trump's senior adviser Jason Miller said in an emailed statement to POLITICO: "It’s called the power of unification -- [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."
However, Trump didn't mention unification in his statement, but rather specifically stopping Clinton from nominating U.S. Supreme Court judges with "Second Amendment people," and added that it would be a "horrible day."
Republican vice presidential nominee Indiana Gov. Mike Pence insisted Trump was not advocating violence during a campaign stop in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell of California tweeted: "Donald Trump suggested someone kill Sec. Clinton. We must take people at their word. [The Secret Service] must investigate #TrumpThreat."
Martin Mulholland, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said in a statement via email to POLITICO: "The Secret Service is aware of the comment."
The National Rifle Association retweeted Trump's U.S. Supreme Court falsehood: "[Donald Trump] is right. If [Hillary Clinton] gets to pick her anti-#2A #SCOTUS judges, there’s nothing we can do. #NeverHillary."
Several conservatives pushed back on Trump's comments on Twitter, according to Raw Story.
John Podhoretz, of the New York Post, tweeted: "That Second-Amendment folks want to shoot politicians they don't like is, let me just say, not a classic Republican theme."
Ben Howe, of Red State, added: "He certainly seemed to suggest something that he should not have suggested."
Ben Shapiro, of The Daily Wire, opined: "Gonna be pretty hilarious when the Secret Service has to go talk to one of the candidates."
Norman Ornstein, of the American Enterprise Institute, tweeted: "It will be easy for the Secret Service to investigate the reckless maniac who said this -- his own detail can do it!"