Prominent Democrats on Tuesday suggested Donald Trump leveled an “assassination threat” aimed at Hillary Clinton during his Tuesday rally in North Carolina.
“Don’t treat this as a political misstep,” Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut wrote on Twitter. “It’s an assassination threat, seriously upping the possibility of a national tragedy & crisis.”
He added: “This isn’t play. Unstable people with powerful guns and an unhinged hatred for Hillary are listening to you.”
Trump elicited a firestorm Tuesday with his comments during a rally, as he discussed what he believes to be the threat Clinton poses to Second Amendment rights.
“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is. I don’t know,” Trump said.
“Speaking to the NRA folks — who are great,” he continued. “If you don’t do the right thing, you’re not going to have a Second Amendment, or you’re not going to have much of it left.”
The comment faced immediate backlash, as many accused Trump of suggesting gun-rights advocates should use some kind of force to stop Clinton from appointing Supreme Court justices that disagree with their views on the issue.
Both Trump’s and Clinton’s campaigns released statements on the matter shortly afterward. Trump’s campaign attributed the controversy to “dishonest media,” while the Clinton campaign condemned the idea of violence in American politics.
In addition to Murphy, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, former 2016 presidential candidate Martin O’Malley, and Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, among others, condemned Trump’s remarks.
“@realDonaldTrump makes death threats because he’s a pathetic coward who can’t handle the fact that he’s losing to a girl,” Warren tweeted.
She added: “Your reckless comments sound like a two-bit dictator, @realDonaldTrump. Not a man who wants to lead the greatest democracy on the planet.”
O’Malley said it made more clear the stakes in November.
“If you ever wondered what was at stake this November, @realdonaldtrump’s hint at assassination shows you what kind of person he is,” he tweeted.
Swalwell called for a Secret Service investigation.
“Donald Trump suggested someone kill Sec. Clinton,” he tweeted. We must take people at their word.”
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