Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has slammed CNN over claims that the US Secret Service spoke to his campaign about the controversial remarks he aimed at his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
Trump on Wednesday denied a CNN report that the Secret Service spoke with his campaign about his “Second Amendment people” remarks. He tweeted that, "no such meeting or conversation ever happened - a made up story by 'low ratings'.
Trump's response came after making off-hand comments at a rally in North Carolina on Tuesday. Trump sparked backlash as he hinted that gun rights supporters could prevent Clinton from taking office, after he accused her of wanting to “abolish the Second Amendment.” Many accused Trump of inciting violence. CNN then reported that the US Secret Service had to speak to Trump over his comments, which he now denies.
CNN reported on Wednesday that the Secret Service's communications director Cathy Milhoan did not confirm the conversations between the Trump campaign and the Secret Service, but said in a statement that "the US Secret Service is aware of Mr. Trump's comments."
Trump criticized Clinton for allegedly wanting to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who could weaken gun rights.
"Hillary wants to abolish -- essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, if she gets to pick, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks.” Trump then went on to make ominous comments about the fate of Clinton.
“Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know," Trump said. "But I tell you what, that will be a horrible day, if Hillary gets to put her judges in, right now we're tied."
Trump responded to the public outrage and said in an interview with Fox News that he was only trying to unify gun owners against Clinton in voting for her.
"This is a political movement. This is a strong political movement, the Second Amendment," Trump said. "And there can be no other interpretation...I mean, give me a break."
Clinton responded to Trump's suggestion, alluding to his irresponsible words as someone who is running for the highest office in the world.
"Words matter my friends, and if you are running to be president or you are president of the United States, words can have tremendous consequences," Clinton said. "Yesterday we witnessed the latest in a long line of casual comments from Donald Trump that cross the line."
The Republican Party attempted to do some damage control to quell the controversy.
The US House of Representatives speaker, Paul Ryan, who is a member of the Republican Party, downplayed Trump’s comments and said he was joking, saying, “it sounds like just a joke gone bad.” Other Republicans blamed Democrats and the media for blowing it out of proportion.