Sahil Kapur, Bloomberg Politics:
Donald Trump’s latest controversial comments did more than make it harder for him to win over undecided voters concerned about his temperament—it resurrected an ugly history of U.S. violence at the presidential level.
An impromptu comment Tuesday about “Second Amendment people” stopping a President Hillary Clinton from appointing judges was described as a dog-whistle call to violence by critics even after Trump dismissed those interpretations, saying, “Give me a break.”
Accusing her of trying to undermine the Second Amendment, Trump said at a rally in North Carolina, “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know. But I’ll tell you what. That will be a horrible day.”
A wave of condemnations—including from the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., a U.S. congresswoman who retired after surviving an assassination attempt, and a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency—delivered yet another worrisome example to voters concerned about Trump’s temperament.
The Trump campaign’s defense is that the candidate was simply referring to the famous organizational abilities of gun rights advocates. This is bullshit. Not even Trump’s supporters believe that, based on conversations I’ve seen on social media. They are ready to kill anybody who comes for their guns, and they believe Clinton is ready to do just that.
Trump knew or should have known how his statements would be interpreted.