- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump says he was referring to “political power” on Tuesday when he said “Second Amendment people” might be able to respond to Hillary Clinton or her Supreme Court picks — and that there can be no other interpretation.

“This is a political movement. This is a strong, powerful movement — the Second Amendment,” Mr. Trump said on Fox News’ “Hannity” program Tuesday evening. “Hillary wants to take your guns away. She wants to leave you unprotected in your home. This is a tremendous political movement.”

“The NRA, as you know, endorsed me,” he said. “There can be no other interpretation. Even reporters have told me. I mean, give me a break.”

“What it is is there’s a tremendous power behind the Second Amendment. It’s a political power,” he said. “There are few things so powerful, I have to say, in terms of politics.”

Earlier in the day, Mr. Trump had been talking about Mrs. Clinton’s naming justices to the U.S. Supreme Court and said there might be something “Second Amendment people” could do to respond.

Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” he told the crowd in Wilmington, North Carolina. “Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don’t know.”

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign called the comments “dangerous.”

The National Rifle Association, however, backed Mr. Trump up, tweeting: “[email protected] is right. If @HillaryClinton gets to pick her anti-#2A #SCOTUS judges, there’s nothing we can do. #NeverHillary”

“But there IS something we will do on #ElectionDay: Show up and vote for the #2A! #DefendtheSecond #NeverHillary,” the gun rights group also tweeted.

Some Republicans had different interpretations.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said that while he didn’t hear the specific comments, it sounded like a “joke gone bad” and he said he hoped Mr. Trump cleared it up quickly.

“You should never joke about something like that,” Mr. Ryan said.

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who announced in recent days that she’s not supporting Mr. Trump for president, actually came to the GOP nominee’s defense on the issue Tuesday.

“I think he was suggesting that the Second Amendment advocates across the country might be able to come together to pressure the Senate to reject her nominees should she become president,” Ms. Collins said on MSNBC. “That’s how I interpreted it.”

“But it is an example of Donald Trump’s looseness with language that can lead to interpretations such as the one put out by Secretary Clinton’s camp,” she said.

GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump said if something similar happened to him, there’d be a different level of attention.

“If that were me, this would be a headline all over the world about Trump,” Mr. Trump said on Fox News’ “Hannity” program on Tuesday. “Look, it’s a whole double standard, but we’re punching through it and I think the people understand — I really think the people understand.”

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