'Guards should disarm... Let's see what happens to Clinton'

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally on Sept 16, 2016 in Miami, Florida.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally on Sept 16, 2016 in Miami, Florida. PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI • Mr Donald Trump has again raised the threat of violence against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, suggesting that her Secret Service guards voluntarily disarm and "see what happens to her".

Members of Mrs Clinton's government-appointed guard detail should abandon their weapons because she wants to "destroy your Second Amendment", he said, referring to the clause in the United States Constitution that enshrines the rights of Americans to bear arms.

"I think they should disarm. Immediately," he told a cheering rally in Miami. "Let's see what happens to her... It will be very dangerous."

Both presidential candidates have been protected by the Secret Service for months, but Mr Trump's latest take on Mrs Clinton's security detail brought swift denunciations.

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook condemned the remarks, saying they "should be out of bounds for a presidential candidate".

"Whether this is done to provoke protesters at a rally or casually or even as a joke, it is an unacceptable quality in anyone seeking the job of commander-in-chief," Mr Mook said in a statement.

"He is unfit to be president and it is time Republican leaders stand up to denounce this disturbing behaviour in their nominee," he added.

Mr Stuart Stevens, a political consultant who worked on Republican Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign, tweeted: "The Secret Service should investigate this threat."

Mrs Clinton has called for tighter access to guns, including universal background checks, but she has never said she planned to get rid of the Second Amendment.

Mr Trump's latest statements echoed comments he had made at a rally last month in North Carolina, when he suggested that "Second Amendment people" - gun owners or those backing gun rights - could stop Mrs Clinton from winning the White House and picking new US Supreme Court justices.

"If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks," he said. "Although the Second Amendment people - maybe there is, I don't know."

In May, Mr Trump also accused Mrs Clinton of hypocrisy for receiving protection from armed Security Service agents.

"Crooked Hillary wants to get rid of all guns and yet she is surrounded by bodyguards who are fully armed," he tweeted. "No more guns to protect Hillary!"

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 18, 2016, with the headline ''Guards should disarm... Let's see what happens to Clinton''. Print Edition | Subscribe