Donald Trump just might get a visit from the same Secret Service that is charged with protecting him.
On Tuesday, he seemed to casually suggest that, if his supporters aren’t able to stop Hillary Clinton from becoming president via the ballot box, then perhaps they could just shoot her.
The Republican presidential nominee was stoking fears that Clinton will abolish the Second Amendment if she wins the presidency, and alluded that she would try to do this by nominating Supreme Court justices in favor of doing so.
“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks,” he said. “Although the Second Amendment people maybe there is, I don’t know.”
That flippant comment alarmed a lot of people on Twitter. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) called for the Secret Service to investigate immediately what he called a threat on Clinton’s life. A spokesperson for the Secret Service told Mashable “we are aware of the [Trump] comment.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) August 9, 2016
Claiming the election will be rigged, “jokingly” encouraging supporters to assassinate political opponentsTrump is undermining democracy.
Dana Schwartz (@DanaSchwartzzz) August 9, 2016
If Trump’s comment is a joke, can someone explain what is funny about it?
Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) August 9, 2016
There is never a New And Improved Trump. There is always a Briefly Scripted Trump, eternally followed by a deeper descent into darkness.
Daniel Dale (@ddale8) August 9, 2016
And at least one person at the rally seemed to think Trump may have gone too far.
The Clinton campaign responded to the incident, calling Trump “dangerous.”
“A person seeking to be the President of the United States should not suggest violence in any way.” pic.twitter.com/Uu55CBCqdK
Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 9, 2016
The Trump campaign said the candidate was simply talking about “unification.”
And it’s entirely possible he was, or was perhaps suggesting armed rebellion rather than assassination.
The problem is that Trump rambles so much that what could have been a banal rah-rah point sounded like a call for assassination.
daveweigel (@daveweigel) August 9, 2016
From context, it’s also possible that Trump was floating idea of armed rebellion against bad SCOTUS decisions, not assassination.
Philip Klein (@philipaklein) August 9, 2016
“You’re aren’t just responsible for what you say. You’re responsible for what people hear.”
– Michael Hayden on CNN just now.
Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) August 9, 2016
Trump has also recently suggested that the presidential election might be “rigged,” which many have said is an attempt to undermine the United States’ basic democratic principles.
Update: Aug. 9 4:39 p.m. PT
Gabrielle Giffords, a former Democratic member of the House of Representatives who resigned in 2012 after surviving an assassination attempt, has responded to Trump’s remarks.
When candidates descend into insult, our politics follow suit. When they affirm violence, we should fear that violence will follow.
Gabrielle Giffords (@GabbyGiffords) August 9, 2016