Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Wednesday accused Republican opponent Donald Trump of inciting violence with his call for gun rights activists to stop her from nominating liberal U.S. Supreme Court justices.
Clinton’s comments added to a growing outcry over Trump’s remarks on Tuesday at a North Carolina rally, which some interpreted as a call for violence against his White House rival. His remarks also fueled widespread concerns about his ability to stay on track.
“Words matter, my friends,” the former U.S. secretary of state said a rally in Des Moines, Iowa. “And if you are running to be president or you are president of the United States, words can have tremendous consequences.
“Yesterday, we witnessed the latest in a long line of casual comments from Donald Trump that crossed the line,” she said, citing “his casual inciting of violence. Every single one of these incidences shows us that Donald Trump simply does not have the temperament to be president and commander in chief of the United States.”
Trump insisted in an interview with Fox News that his remarks were a call for political, not physical, action.
“There is tremendous political power to save the Second Amendment, tremendous,” the New York businessman said. “And you look at the power they have in terms of votes and that’s what I was referring to, obviously that’s what I was referring to, and everybody knows it.”
The U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment guarantees a right to keep and bear arms.
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But high-profile Republicans and rank-and-file voters appeared shaken on Wednesday after a string of Trump missteps, struggling with how to best reject Trump’s divisive candidacy. Some pledged to withhold their endorsement and others backed Clinton. Some sought for an unprecedented way to oust Trump from the Republican ticket.
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida, in an opinion piece in the Washington Post, said the party was in “uncharted waters” and called for leaders to start looking for ways replace him.
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll taken Aug. 5-8, showed that nearly one-fifth of 396 registered Republicans said they want Trump to drop out of the race for the White House and another 10 percent said they “don’t know” whether the Republican nominee should or not.
Clinton’s campaign, seeing an opening, moved to bring disenchanted Republicans into the fold by announcing an official intraparty outreach effort on behalf of the Democratic nominee.