On August 9 the Hillary Clinton campaign spun Donald Trump’s Second Amendment comments as a threat and Clinton surrogates quickly pounced, calling for a Secret Service investigation.
Trump was speaking in Wilmington, North Carolina.
He said, “Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment.” He added, “By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook misinterpreted Trump’s statement and responded, saying, “This is simple–What Trump is saying is dangerous. A person seeking to be the President of the United States should not suggest violence in any way.”
— Ian Sams (@IanSams) August 9, 2016
Mook’s response is intended to take away from Trump’s main point–that Clinton wants to win the White House so she can fill Supreme Court vacancies with people who will help her “abolish the Second Amendment.” Mook’s response is basically a bait and switch–don’t worry about Clinton and the Supreme Court, worry about Trump suggesting violence.
Two things MUST be addressed here:
First, in the short of excerpt of the Wilmington speech–which the Clinton campaign isolated and pounced upon–Trump did not suggest violence. Rather, he spoke in a way that reveals he recognizes the role an armed citizenry plays as a check on tyranny. This is James Madison 101. In Federalist 46, Madison observed that Americans are exceptional because armed and the benefit of being armed is the ability to repel tyranny. Repelling a tyranny is a defensive action, not an offensive one. In this sense, Trump’s words–based on Lockean resistance–pales in comparison to the talk of political violence we heard in 2008 when Obama said, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”
Secondly, examining Trump’s statement in light of the full text, rather than the isolated excerpt, shows that his concern is with the danger gun rights and gun rights supporters will face if Clinton gets to pick Antonin Scalia’s replacement. The full text follows:
Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment. By the way, and 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 — but I’ll tell you what. That will be a horrible day. If Hillary gets to put her judges — right now, we’re tied. You see what’s going on.
You see what’s going on? We [are] tied because Scalia – this was not suppose to happen. Justice Scalia was going to be around for ten more years at least and this is what happens. That was a horrible thing.
So now look at it. So Hillary essentially wants to abolish the Second Amendment. Now, speaking to the NRA folks – who are great…and I’ll tell you, they endorsed me.
They endorsed me very early. My son’s a member. I’m a member.
…We can add I think the National Rifle Association, we can add the Second Amendment to the Justices – they almost go – in a certain way, hand in hand. Now the Justices are going to do things that are so important and we have such great Justices, you saw my list of 11 that have been vetted and respected.
Donald Trump is concerned about America’s future with an liberal, activist court–which is what Clinton would create. Robby Mook wants to distract from that concern by trying suggest Trump was urging violence.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.