Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is denying a 10 August 2016 report by CNN that his campaign has been spoken to by the Secret Service over remarks he made about "Second Amendment people" stopping his presidential rival Hillary Clinton from picking a Supreme Court justice.
"There has been more than one conversation" on the topic, the source reportedly told CNN, to which Trump's campaign responded that Trump had no intention of inciting violence.
Trump made the comments at a North Carolina rally on 9 August 2016, in which he implied that if elected, Hillary Clinton would stack the high court with anti-gun judges: "If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know."
Trump replied to the CNN story by denying on Twitter that such a meeting ever took place.
No such meeting or conversation ever happened - a made up story by "low ratings" @CNN.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2016
Reuters reported that a government official said the Secret Service did not "formally" speak to the Trump campaign. Whatever the nature of the alleged "talks," the Secret Service made it clear they took note of Trump's comment:
The Secret Service is aware of the comments made earlier this afternoon.
— U.S. Secret Service (@SecretService) August 9, 2016
This incident is far from the first controversial statement from the real estate mogul-turned-politician. In July 2016, Trump found himself at the center of criticism for encouraging Russian hackers to "find the 30,000 emails that are missing" from Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State.
More recently, Trump grabbed headlines by saying he wanted to retaliate against speakers attacking him at the Democratic National Convention and "hit them back so hard." While Trump uses the term "hit" as a euphemism for verbal attacks, the violent imagery dovetailed with incidents of physical violence at some of his rallies and prompted some advisers to request that he tone down his rhetoric.
It's a request Trump said he has no intention of honoring.