CBS: After a wave of criticism broke out Tuesday over Donald Trump’s comments calling for “Second Amendment people” to push back against Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, the Republican presidential nominee had one response: “Give me a break.”
At a Tuesday rally in North Carolina, Trump attacked Clinton’s position on gun control, alleging that she would “essentially abolish” the Second Amendment and “if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks.”
He tacked on: “Although the Second Amendment people … maybe there is, I don’t know.”
The backlash to the remarks was immediate, with many taking it to mean Trump was encouraging violence against the Democratic nominee. Media outlets like the Washington Post and the New York Times published sharply rebuking editorials, while politicians like House Speaker Paul Ryan deemed it “a joke gone bad.”
Later that evening, Trump spoke with Fox News’ Sean Hannity about the firestorm and blamed it on the media echo chamber.
Hannity began the interview with his own explanation of Trump’s remarks: “So obviously you’re saying that there’s a strong political movement within the Second Amendment, and if people mobilize and vote, they can stop Hillary from having this impact on the court.”
Trump agreed, saying “there can be no other interpretation” of his call to “Second Amendment people.”
“It was amazing because nobody in that room thought anything other than what you just said. This is a political movement. This is a strong, powerful movement, the Second Amendment,” he said. “You know, Hillary wants to take your guns away. She wants to leave you unprotected in your home.”
“I mean, give me a break,” Trump added, before denouncing the “dishonest” media. “What it is, is there’s a tremendous power behind the Second Amendment. It’s a political power, and it — there are few things so powerful, I have to say, in terms of politics.”
The billionaire touted his own support among gun-rights advocates and the National Rifle Association (NRA).
“The NRA, as you know, endorsed me. They’re terrific people. Wayne and Chris and all of the people over there,” Trump said, referring to prominent NRA officials. “I just saw they tweeted out basically they agree 100 percent with what I said.”
The NRA tweeted this shortly after Trump’s remarks:
— NRA (@NRA) August 9, 2016