Donald Trump’s national campaign spokesperson insisted on Tuesday that the GOP presidential nominee was not trying to incite violence against Hillary Clinton earlier in the day with his suggestion that “Second Amendment people” could stop her.
“Everyone knows Hillary Clinton is a gun-grabber,” Katrina Pierson told CNN host Jake Tapper. “And everyone knows that if she’s in a position to appoint Supreme Court justices, she will do everything she can to remove the Second Amendment. So Mr. Trump was clearly pointing that out, as he has done every day on the campaign trail.”
The former reality TV star was quickly criticized by both Democrats and fellow conservatives after saying at a North Carolina campaign rally, “If she gets to pick her [Supreme Court] judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is.”
“He was talking about what Second Amendment activists could do to stop her — if she won — to stop her from appointing a gun-control nominee to the Supreme Court,” Tapper told Bowden. “It wasn’t about November … It’s not about November, it’s after November.”
“That’s actually not what he was talking about. Just before that he was saying — as you said — ‘what could happen.’ He doesn’t want that to happen,” she replied. “And in order to stop that, people that support their Second Amendment rights need to come together and get out there and stop Hillary Clinton from winning in November.”
When Tapper asked why Trump did not just simply say he misspoke following the uproar, Pierson said a statement from his campaign saying that he was actually referring to the “power of unification” inherent in the Second Amendment provided enough clarification.
However, conservative analyst Ana Navarro had a less charitable take on Trump’s remarks, saying that he could not grasp the influence he now has in an inflamed political climate.
“It sounded like yet another stupid thing that comes out of Trump’s mouth,” she said. “It sounded like, ‘Oh my God, here we go again, it’s Groundhog Day.’ Just when I thought he might be shifting into policy with that speech yesterday, here we’re all gonna have to react to yet another stupid, undisciplined thing that Donald Trump said because he seems not to understand the power of words.”
Democratic strategist Paul Begala said that, while reasonable people were right to be incensed by Trump’s statement, he worried about how someone who is unreasonable would take it.
“I fear that an unbalanced person hears that — as Ana points out, in an inflamed environment — and God forbid, thinks that that was a threat,” he said. “I certainly take it as a threat, and Trump needs to apologize.”
Watch the discussion, as posted online, below.