WILMINGTON, North Carolina Republican Donald Trump suggested in a speech on Tuesday that gun rights activists could stop his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton from nominating liberal justices to the Supreme Court, stirring another round of backlash during a week his U.S. presidential campaign had hoped to steer clear of controversy.
“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks,” Trump said at a rally at the University of North Carolina. “Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know,” he continued. The U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment guarantees a right to bear firearms.
Clinton’s campaign called the comments “dangerous”.
“A person seeking to be the president of the United States should not suggest violence in any way,” it said.
When asked to clarify what Trump meant, his campaign said in an emailed statement: “It’s called the power of unification – 2nd Amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power.”
Asked for comment, the U.S. Secret Service, which provides security details for both Trump and Clinton, said: “The Secret Service is aware of the comment.”
Tuesday’s speech comes on the heels of a discordant week on the campaign trail during which Trump came under fire from within his party for belatedly endorsing fellow Republicans in reelection races and a prolonged clash with the parents of fallen Muslim American Army captain Humayun Khan.
On Monday, Trump had seemed to be heeding Republican advice to keep to a message of criticizing Clinton and other Democrats when he gave a put forward economic policy proposals in a speech in Detroit.
(Additional reporting and writing by Alana Wise in Washington; Editing by Howard Goller)