Speaking at a rally in Wilmington, North Carolina, on Tuesday, Donald Trump made an offhand comment that "Second Amendment people" might have some unspecified way to stop a President Hillary Clinton’s judges from abolishing gun rights.
"Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the Second Amendment," Trump said. "By the way, and if she gets to pick — 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’s remarks are a bit garbled, but they appear to be a joke that gun owners could use their weaponry to prevent the government from rolling back their gun rights. Here’s the full context of his statement, via Politico:
Donald Trump: "Hillary wants to essentially abolish the Second Amendment." pic.twitter.com/jEppTyaUbS— POLITICO (@politico) August 9, 2016
Commentators soon debated what, exactly, Trump may have meant.
Did Donald Trump really just semi-incite someone to shoot Hillary Clinton or any federal judge that she appoints? https://t.co/ykUvZ6cd7s— Paige Williams (@williams_paige) August 9, 2016
I think he meant you could shoot the judges.— Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) 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
Trump will say he wants 2nd amendment advocates to convince Senate to block Clinton pick. Keep in mind his advisor called for her to be shot— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) August 9, 2016
Eventually, the Trump campaign released a statement claiming he was just referring to "the power of unification" to stop Clinton's election, which really doesn't seem to be the case based on the original context — as Sam Stein points out, he was talking about judges she'd appoint after she already won.
Hillary Clinton's campaign manager had his own interpretation.
Just another day of the 2016 campaign.