NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Tuesday, August 9, 2016, 5:56 PM
Donald Trump appeared to encourage supporters of the Second Amendment to shoot Hillary Clinton Tuesday — a terrifying remark that could qualify as a felony crime — prompting countless political figures and gun-control advocates to call for the unhinged nominee’s exit from the presidential race.
At a speech in Wilmington, N.C., Trump was riffing on his dissatisfaction with the federal and Supreme Court judges that might be appointed to the bench in a prospective Clinton administration when he uttered what seemed to be a jaw-dropping implication.
“Hillary wants to essentially abolish the Second Amendment. And by the way, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks,” Trump said.
“Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know,” Trump added in what seemed to be a thinly-veiled suggestion that gun advocates turn their weapons on his November opponent.
A few in the crowd cheered, but many others appeared shocked by the jarring insinuation, including a man sitting directly behind the mogul whose mouth fell agape as Trump uttered the apparent incitement to violence.
Twitter lit up just seconds after Trump made the remark, with thousands of figures in politics and media wondering if the mogul had just suggested that gun-owners to turn their weapons on Clinton due to her desire to tighten gun control laws.
In a statement provided following Trump’s extreme speech, his campaign said the candidate was referring merely to “the amazing spirit” of Second Amendment advocates.
“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 be voting in record numbers, and it won’t be for Hillary Clinton, it will be for Donald Trump,” Jason Miller, a spokesman for the Trump camp, said.
But the NRA quickly weighed in, as well, tweeting that Trump was “right” about what he said.
“[email protected] is right. If @HillaryClinton gets to pick her anti-#2A #SCOTUS judges, there’s nothing we can do. #NeverHillary,” the gun group tweeted. “But there IS something we will do on #ElectionDay: Show up and vote for the #2A! #DefendtheSecond #NeverHillary,” it added.
The Clinton campaign immediately condemned Trump’s extraordinary words.
“This is simple — what Trump is saying is dangerous. A person seeking to be President of the United States should not suggest violence in any way,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said in a statement.
The Democratic nominee’s surrogates also berated Trump for his irresponsible line.
“This isn’t play. Unstable people with powerful guns and an unhinged hatred for Hillary are listening to you, @realDonaldTrump,” tweeted Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). “Was @realDonaldTrump suggesting his supporters shoot Hillary? Shoot her nominee? Who knows. It’s all so disgusting and embarrassing and sad.”
“Don’t treat this as a political misstep. It’s an assassination threat, seriously upping the possibility of a national tragedy & crisis,” Murphy added.
In a brief statement, Priorities USA, a Super PAC backing the Democratic nominee called Trump, “Dangerous. Stupid. Unhinged.”
“Totally unacceptable. Every Republican who backs Trump is backing this reprehensible behavior,” Priorities USA spokesman Justin Barasky said.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) urged the Secret Service to investigate.
“Donald Trump suggested someone kill Sec. Clinton. We must take people at their word. @SecretService must investigate #TrumpThreat,” he tweeted.
A concerned anti-Trump group went one step further and contacted the FBI after the mogul’s threat.
“The Democratic Coalition Against Trump today reached out to high-level contacts in the Washington, D.C. field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to voice concerns about Donald Trump’s call for violence against Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and to argue that Trump should be arrested for attempting to incite political violence,” the group said in a statement.
“There is no place in American politics for this kind of disgusting rhetoric,” Scott Dworkin, a senior official with the group, added. “Donald Trump should immediately drop out of the race, and he should be arrested for committing a federal crime,” Dworkin said, noting that “there have been much less clear-cut cases of people being charged for less.”
“He’s proven himself to be nothing more than a thug, and anyone supporting him after this grotesque display should be publicly shamed. It’s truly abhorrent and we must all stand united – regardless of party affiliation to say loudly that Americans reject this kind of hateful and dangerous rhetoric,” he said.
In fact, federal criminal law indicates Trump have actually crossed the line from bombastic billionaire to felonious threat-maker
Under 8 U.S.C. § 879 : US Code – Section 879: Threats against former Presidents and certain other persons,” Trump could even possibly face up to five years in prison.
“(a) Whoever knowingly and willfully threatens to kill, kidnap, or inflict bodily harm upon – … (3) a major candidate for the office of President of Vice President, or a member of the immediate family of such candidate … shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both,” the statute reads.
In a brief statement, the Secret Service, which is charged with protecting presidential candidates, said it was “aware of the comment” Trump made.
Prominent gun control groups blasted Trump’s insinuation.
“What Donald Trump said today is repulsive – literally using the second amendment as cover to encourage people to kill someone with whom they disagree,” Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence President Dan Gross said. “Today’s effort to encourage targeted violence based on a conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton and the second amendment proves how dangerous Trump really is.”
“He would rather solve his problems and political disagreements with violence and bullets than words. For Trump, violence has become a standard talking point, a common punch line, and even a campaign strategy,” Gross said. “Instead of offering even a single solution, Trump has continued to make light of gun violence and even promote its proliferation.”
“Did Donald Trump just suggest that someone stop Hillary Clinton with a gun? This is just the latest example of Trump inciting violence at his rallies — and one that belies his fundamental misunderstanding of the Second Amendment, which should be an affront to the vast majority of responsible gun owners in America. He’s unfit to be president,” Everytown for Gun Safety spokeswoman Erika Soto Lamb said.
Victims of gun violence also spoke out.
“The implication is that someone should take their gun and take care of his opponent. If this is what he meant it’s yet another example of his deranged and over-the-top comments,” former Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.), who was also wounded in the shooting that nearly killed his then-boss, Rep. Gabby Giffords, told the Daily News.
“@realDonaldTrump you think gun violence is a joke? Would love to tell you about Mom’s life and gruesome MURDER,” Erica Smegielski, whose mother Dawn Hochsprung was the principal killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, tweeted.
“As the daughter of a leader who was assassinated, I find #Trump’s comments distasteful, disturbing, dangerous. His words don’t #LiveUp. #MLK,” tweeted Bernice King, the youngest daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Trump’s nod to violence certainly isn’t the first from someone associated with his campaign.
Last month, Al Baldasaro, a Trump adviser on veterans issues, said Clinton should be “put in the firing line and shot for treason” — a comment that apparently set off alarm bells with the Secret Service.
The dangerously inflammatory rhetoric being used by Trump and his acolytes hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Republican Party.
In a scathing letter issued Monday night, 50 prominent GOP national security experts urged voters to stay away from the GOP nominee this fall.
“Donald Trump is not qualified to be President and Commander-in-Chief. Indeed, we are convinced that he would be a dangerous Precedent and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being,” the letter stated. “He would be the most reckless President in American history.”
Countless Republicans have abandoned the mogul and said they’ll either stay home in November or vote for Clinton, citing his erratic behavior and never-ending outrageous comments, including, just in the last several weeks, his insults of Gold Star parents, his suggestion that Russian hackers should look into Clinton’s emails and his proposal that the U.S. shouldn’t honor its NATO obligations unless its allies pay up.