At a campaign rally in North Carolina on Tuesday, Republican nominee Donald Trump suggested that “Second Amendment people” — gun owners — could be the answer to stopping Hillary Clinton from winning the 2016 election and appointing justices to the Supreme Court.
“If she gets to pick her judges — there’s nothing you can do, folks,” Trump told the crowd, who loudly booed the prospect of Clinton winning. He then added, without smiling or laughing: “Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”
In recent weeks, as poll after poll shows him slipping further behind Clinton in the presidential race — even in once solidly red states like Georgia — Trump has begun promoting the idea that Clinton could only win through voter fraud.
The message, which Trump has repeated at rallies and in TV interviews, appears to be working. A poll released today of North Carolina voters found that nearly 70 percent of Trump supporters believe that if Clinton wins the election, it will be because the system is rigged.
Many have expressed fears that Trump’s encouragement of this conspiracy theory could lead to civil unrest, or even violence, should he lose the election. At Tuesday’s rally, he all but called for his supporters to take matters into their own armed hands.
Members of Trump’s campaign have not only implied violence against Clinton — they have explicitly called for it. “Hillary Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot for treason,” Trump adviser Al Baldasaro told a talk radio host in July.
Trump’s campaign released a statement Tuesday saying that his remarks were referring to gun owners voting in a “tremendously unified” way and in “record numbers” against Clinton.