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Trump: 'Second Amendment people' could stop Clinton

Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East MORE appeared to joke about the possibility that gun owners could take action against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBudowsky: Closing message for Democrats Election Countdown: Dems outraise GOP in final stretch | 2018 midterms already most expensive in history | What to watch in second Cruz-O'Rourke debate | Trump raises 0M for reelection | Why Dems fear Avenatti's approach GOP mocks Clinton after minor vehicle collision outside Mendendez campaign event MORE in remarks at a campaign rally Tuesday in Wilmington, N.C.

Trump was discussing the possibility that Clinton, the Democratic nominee, would be able to appoint liberal justices to the Supreme Court if she wins the race for the White House.

He then said that there was nothing that could be done in that scenario, before mentioning “Second Amendment folks.”

“Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the Second Amendment,” Trump said to boos from the crowd.

“By the way, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks,” he then added.

“Though the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know.”

After the comments won significant attention, the Trump campaign released a statement saying that Trump was referring to how the National Rifle Association and other backers of the Second Amendment had the political power to stop Clinton at the polls. 

They also blamed the media for distorting Trump's comments. 

The nominee himself went on the offensive as well, taping an interview with Fox News's "Hannity" that aired late Tuesday and tweeting about the dustup.  

“It’s called the power of unification – 2nd Amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power,” Jason Miller, a top Trump aide, said in the statement. 

"And this year, they will be voting in record numbers, and it won’t be for Hillary Clinton, it will be for Donald Trump.”

Trump also sought to clarify his comments in an interview with WNCN-North Carolina in which he said that those who support the Second Amendment have tremendous power because they are united. 

"If Hillary Clinton gets elected, I think she's going to decimate the Second Amendment, if not abolish it, " he said. "And she'll do that through judges, through the justices of the Supreme Court. But the Second Amendment people have tremendous power because they are so united."

The Clinton campaign seized on the comments, arguing Trump was using dangerous rhetoric.

“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.

Other Democrats pounced on the comments, with Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) tweeting that the Secret Service must investigate Trump's "threat."

A spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service said it was aware of the comments.

The comment comes just one day after Trump sought to reset the controversy dogging his campaign with a highly-touted and scripted economic speech. 

Trump has repeatedly used Supreme Court vacancies as a key cudgel against Clinton and a way to convince wary Republicans to jump onto his campaign.

Allies of Trump moved to defend the Republican nominee for president, with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani saying it was clear that Trump was saying Clinton's election would be a blow to the Second Amendment.

"What he said very clearly was that if Hillary Clinton were elected president, she would get to appoint judges to the Supreme Court, and among the other things that they would do to destroy us, would be to do away with the Second Amendment and your right to bear arms," he said, introducing Trump at a rally later Tuesday.

"Now, is there anybody here that doubts that," he asked.

"And then he said, and you have the power to do something about it. And what he meant by that was you have the power to vote against her. You have the power to campaign against her. You have the power to speak against her. You know why, because you're Americans."

The comments came a day after the father of the man who killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando earlier this summer showed up at a Clinton rally.
 
Seddique Mateen could be seen in the camera shot behind Clinton at the rally Monday night in Orlando. He later spoke to reporters and said he backed Clinton for president.
 
- Updated at 6:43 p.m.