Hillary Clinton says Donald Trump engaged in incitement by calling for gun enthusiasts to prevent her from nominating Supreme Court justices. The Republican had made the remarks at a rally in North Carolina on Tuesday.
Hillary Clinton said Donald Trump "crossed the line" and engaged in "casual inciting of violence" by calling for firearms aficionados to seek extra-democratic recourse should she win the presidency. The remarks by Trump, the last of more than a dozen Republicans standing after a wild primary season, have stoked further panic within the party about whether the occasionally bankrupt billionaire can stay on track.
"Words matter, my friends," former Secretary of State Clinton said at a rally on Wednesday in Des Moines, Iowa. "And if you are running to be president or you are president of the United States, words can have tremendous consequences."
On Tuesday, Trump said weapons advocates could prevent the former senator from disarming Americans through the judiciary if she were elected president and given the power to appoint Supreme Court Justices.
The former reality show celebrity has repeatedly accused Clinton of seeking to take away Americans' guns. She says all she wants are tougher controls in a country where 13,286 people died from firearms in 2015, a year when 372 mass shootings left 475 people dead and 1,870 wounded.
"Hillary wants to essentially abolish the Second Amendment," Trump said in North Carolina, referring to the constitutional dictate that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." He added: "If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks - although, the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know."
'Everybody knows it'
On Wednesday, high-profile Republicans appeared shaken by their candidate's latest misfire. In an interview with the right-wing broadcaster Fox News, however, Trump insisted that he had called for democratic - not deadly - action.
"There is tremendous political power to save the Second Amendment, tremendous," Trump told Fox on Wednesday, a day when the high-rise he calls home was scaled in New York. "And you look at the power they have in terms of votes, and that's what I was referring to - obviously that's what I was referring to, and everybody knows it."
An August 5-8 Reuters/Ipsos poll found that nearly one-fifth of 396 registered Republicans wanted Trump to drop out of the race and another 10 percent said they didn't know whether he should give up. Overall, the poll found that 44 percent of 1,162 registered voters believe that Trump should exit the race, which Clinton leads by seven percentage points, up from three late last week. That poll was taken before the casino mogul's latest gaffe.
Clinton's campaign has moved to bring disenchanted Republicans into her fold. The centrist, who had once sought the backing of supporters of independent Senator Bernie Sanders, now lists endorsements from 50 prominent conservatives on a website where Republicans and political independents can familiarize themselves with her pro-business policies.
mkg/rc (Reuters, AFP, AP)