In his rally in North Carolina Donald Trump once again went off script, this time inviting gun rights activists to take care of his Hillary Clinton problem.
Speaking to an amped-up crowd about the differences between Clinton and himself, Trump declared, "Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment."
"And by the way, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks," he shouted over booing.
As the shouts from the crowd continued, Trump added, "Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don't know."
In case anyone sees this as uniquely Trump, I refer you back to June, 2010, and Sharron Angle's run for Harry Reid's Senate seat.
"If this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are going to start looking for second amendment remedies..."
Which she then follows up with this:
"The first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out."
It's not original, and it's not just Trump. But it IS dangerous. Very dangerous.
Update: Excuses are rolling out. Most Trump apologists say it was "just a joke." Many reactions on Twitter suggest otherwise.
Ok, enough. This psychopath @RealDonaldTrump just dog-whistled to his supporters to shoot the opposing candidate.
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) August 9, 2016
There is no joking about killing presidents or judges. https://t.co/gtaAUHPJtb
— Norman Ornstein (@NormOrnstein) August 9, 2016
It's unclear what Trump meant. But presidential candidates don't usually leave it unclear whether they're hinting at assassination.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) August 9, 2016
Here's someone with a different interpretation:
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
And Politico steps in to massage the situation:
Trump was probably joking about assassinating Hillary Clinton. But he is not in a position to make those jokes https://t.co/1u4m4jJ7YA
— Danny Vinik (@DannyVinik) August 9, 2016
Senator Chris Murphy is angry:
This isn't play. Unstable people with powerful guns and an unhinged hatred for Hillary are listening to you, @realDonaldTrump.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) August 9, 2016
Jason Miller, senior communications advisor to the Trump campaign, issued a statement to "dishonest media", which says:
"It's called the power of unification -- 2nd Amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power. And this year they will turn out in record numbers, and it won't be for Hillary Clinton, It will be for Donald Trump."
The only problem with this statement? Trump was speculating about what would happen if Clinton won the election, not talking about Second Amendment remedies people voting in November. The dishonest one here is Mr. Miller, not those of us who actually just listened and transcribed his actual words.
Not just the 'dishonest media' who heard it, either.
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) August 9, 2016
Some have suggested he was also aiming at judges. That's possible. But either way, it's way over the line.
Update 4: Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook's statement:
"This is simple—what Trump is saying is dangerous. A person seeking to be the President of the United States should not suggest violence in any way."