Supporters and staffers of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump had many explanations on Tuesday for his quip that “Second Amendment people” could do something about a potential President Hillary Clinton picking Supreme Court justices.
The most indecipherable came from spokeswoman Katrina Pierson. Her comments to CNN raised a variety of possibilities: that Trump was talking about the need for pro-gun rights supporters to vote against the Democratic nominee or, perhaps, that he was talking about the need to prevent something that “could happen” if she became president.
That second bit fell more in line with critics’ interpretation of Trump’s comments: that he was talking about violence under a Clinton presidency.
“He was saying what could happen, as you said, what could happen,” she told Jake Tapper on “The Lead” after he pointed out that Trump specifically referred to events after the election.
“He doesn’t want that to happen,” Pierson said. “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.”
Trump said at a rally earlier in the afternoon that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton wants to “essentially abolish the Second Amendment.”
“If she gets to pick her judges ― nothing you can do, folks,” he said. “Although, the Second Amendment people. Maybe there is. I don’t know.”
The remark was quickly condemned as a threat of violence against Clinton or her potential judicial nominees, and some Democratic lawmakers called for Trump to be investigated by the Secret Service. The Clinton campaign put out a statement calling his comments “dangerous.”
The Trump campaign, including Pierson, initially said Trump was talking about the power of pro-gun rights voters to keep Clinton out of office ― not referencing any concerns about violence at all.
Pierson slipped from that argument when Tapper challenged her on the fact that Trump specifically referred to after the election, and she said Trump was talking about something that could happen but he doesn’t want to happen.
She had been more on-message earlier in the segment.
“He was talking about Hillary Clinton and gun control, essentially, which is something that has been talked about a lot on the campaign trail,” she said. “Hillary Clinton is a gun-grabber 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 does every day on the campaign trail.”
“We also know that unification is key, which is exactly what our statement says coming out,” Pierson continued. “There are a lot of Americans in this country who support the Second Amendment. There are millions of members of the NRA and the NRA endorsed Mr. Trump earlier than anyone in history. So this is very important in November, if you care about your Second Amendment rights, to get out there and vote.”
Editor’s note: Donald Trump