The US Secret Service has had “more than one conversation” with Republican nominee Donald Trump or his aides about what has been widely perceived as an assassination threat against Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent, according to CNN.
In the conversations, Trump or campaign aides denied any threat of violence against Clinton, CNN quoted a Secret Service official as saying. “There has been more than one conversation,” the official said.
The Secret Service is in charge of security for the United States’ most powerful politicians. CNN did not report whether the questions were raised to Trump himself.
In a late-afternoon tweet, Trump himself denied the story.
The remarks came a day after Trump ignited a firestorm of criticism with an apparent off-the-cuff remark in a speech to a crowd in Wilmington, NC. In the speech, Trump alleged that Clinton intends to “abolish” the Second Amendment to the US constitution, which guarantees the right to bear arms. With a seat currently open on the nine-justice US Supreme Court, he said that Clinton would appoint a jurist who would weaken the Second Amendment.
Then Trump seemed to suggest, however, that gun-owners could stop her from doing so. He said, “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the second amendment people, maybe there is.”
The remark was widely interpreted as a suggestion that gun owners could shoot either Clinton or liberal judges. Trump later told Fox News he was only talking about their “political” power – and saying of the media coverage: “Give me a break.”
In his column today, New York Times writer Thomas Friedman said that the episode reminded him of the toxic rhetoric that preceded the 1995 assassination of Israeli prime minister Yitzhaq Rabin.