Donald Trump on Friday evening waded into a Second Amendment controversy on a day dominated by “birtherism” headlines, when he called on Hillary Clinton’s security detail to disarm so we can “see what happens to her.”
“She wants to destroy your Second Amendment,” he said at a Miami rally. “I think what we should do is she goes around with armed bodyguards, like you have never seen before. I think that her bodyguards should disarm, right? Right? Think they should disarm. Immediately, what do you think? Yes? Yes. Yeah. Take their guns away. She doesn’t want guns. Let’s see what happens to her.”
Trump has previously said “the Second Amendment people” could stop the Democratic nominee appointing anti-gun lawyers to federal courts. The remarks were widely condemned, but the Trump campaign denied he had intended it as a means to instigate violence. The Secret Service followed up on the comments by meeting with the Trump campaign.
The Republican nominee, who was endorsed by the National Rifle Association, has frequently claimed that Clinton wants to “take your guns away,” as he did Friday, in a continued effort to appeal to gun owning voters. The Clinton campaign has stated no intent to do so, and has staunchly rejected these claims.
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook responded to Trump’s Miami remarks Friday by accusing Trump of having “a pattern of inciting people to violence.”
“Whether this is done to provoke protesters at a rally or casually or even as a joke, it is an unacceptable quality in anyone seeking the job of Commander in Chief,” he wrote in a statement. “This kind of talk should be out of bounds for a presidential candidate, just like it should be out of bounds for a presidential candidate to peddle a conspiracy theory about the President of the United States for five years.”
Mook added that Trump “is unfit to be President and it is time Republican leaders stand up to denounce this disturbing behavior in their nominee.”
Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon later quipped on social media that either Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway “suddenly determined jokes about assassination would help boost Trump with independents… or the dog is off his leash.”
The comments come a week after Trump again mocked Clinton’s use of a Secret Service detail — which the Republican nominee himself also receives — while saying she herself enjoys immunity from prosecution.
“She’s being so protected. She could walk into this arena right now and shoot somebody with 20,000 people watching, right smack in the middle of the heart and she wouldn’t be prosecuted,” he said.
Trump has also invoked such imagery to tout his own success, telling a rally in January that he “could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
The comments came hours after Trump unleashed a new attack on Clinton, blaming the nominee and her supporters for starting the “birther” conspiracy that President Barack Obama was not a native born citizen – a claim independent fact-checkers, POLITICO included, have rated as false.