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Donald Trump's 2nd Amendment comments have critics saying he was suggesting Hillary Clinton could get shot.

Ryan says Trump ought to clarify 2nd Amendment comment

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Tuesday he hoped Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would clarify his comments about the 2nd Amendment that some perceived as an incitement to violence against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

"It sounds like just a joke gone bad. I hope he clears it up very quickly," Ryan told reporters after he handily won his House primary. "You should never joke about something like that."

Ryan said he had been busy on primary day and had not heard the comment but knew about it. Earlier Tuesday, Trump caused an uproar when he said there might be something supporters of gun rights could do to stop Clinton from naming Supreme Court justices.

Ryan stood by his support of Trump, saying the GOP nominee would be more receptive to House Republicans' policy agenda than Clinton would be.

But in his remarks celebrating his landslide victory over insurgent challenger Paul Nehlen, Ryan also called for leadership that unites rather than divides the nation. He spoke out against preying upon Americans' uncertainty, echoing criticism of Trump's campaign from Democrats and an increasing number of Republicans.

"In times as uncertain as these, it is easy to resort to division. It's simple to prey on people's fears. That stuff sells, but it doesn't stick," Ryan said. "It doesn't last. Most of all, it doesn't work."

House Speaker Paul Ryan easily defeats insurgent GOP challenger

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan easily beat back an insurgent challenger in Tuesday’s GOP primary in Wisconsin, a win that sets him up for a 10th term in Congress.

Ryan was so confident he would beat businessman Paul Nehlen that he barely campaigned — even after Donald Trump expressed kind words for Nehlen before belatedly endorsing the congressman last week.

The race was framed as a clash between Trump’s insurgent wing of the GOP and the party’s conservative establishment, but the early returns supported polls that predicted Ryan winning in a blowout.

Nobody in that room thought anything other than what you just said. This is a political movement. This is a strong, powerful movement, the 2nd Amendment.

Donald Trump, speaking on Fox News about his comments surrounding Hillary Clinton and the 2nd Amendment.

Mike Pence says Donald Trump is not calling for violence with 2nd Amendment comments

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Mike Pence is at it again. 

Hours after Donald Trump drew strong backlash for his comments that gun-rights supporters might be able to do something to stop Hillary Clinton, Pence stressed that his running mate was not calling for violence. 

"Of course not. Donald Trump is urging people around this country to act consistent with their convictions in the course of this election," he told a local Pennsylvania television station on Tuesday. "And people who cherish the 2nd Amendment have a very clear choice in this election."

While speaking to supporters earlier in the day in North Carolina, Trump said Clinton would "essentially abolish the 2nd Amendment” and pick liberal Supreme Court justices.

"By the way … if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the 2nd Amendment people, maybe there is. I don’t know," he said. 

Trump's campaign quickly responded to critics, saying that any suggestion that the billionaire businessman was advocating violence against Clinton was a media overreaction.

In recent days, Pence has often done damage-control for the Trump campaign, earning the title by some pundits and political analysts as the "cleaner-up-in-chief."

Last week, as Trump created tension within the Republican Party by initially refusing to endorse House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s reelection, Pence deviated and offered his unyielding support of the speaker. Days later, Trump also endorsed Ryan.

And as Trump battled with Khizr Khan, whose son was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq in 2004, Pence said at a public event that Trump actually cherishes Khan and his family. 

Pence’s comments have not gone unnoticed.

An 11-year-old boy questioned Pence at a rally last week, inquiring why the governor had been "softening" up Trump's words. 

"Sometimes things don’t always come out like you mean, right?” Pence said. “And Donald Trump and I are absolutely determined to work together, and we have different styles, you might have noticed that.”

Watch: Donald Trump continues campaigning in North Carolina

Secret Service 'aware' but not commenting on Trump's 2nd Amendment remark

The United States Secret Service declined to comment Tuesday on whether Donald Trump's "2nd Amendment" comments merited an investigation by the agency.

"The U.S. Secret Service is aware of the comments," spokesperson Cathy Milhoan said in response to an inquiry about the Republican nominee's latest controversial statement.

That the Secret Service might even consider investigating one of its own protectees for remarks about another would be unprecedented.

Trump's campaign quickly responded that any suggestion that Trump was advocating violence against Clinton to be the work of dishonest media.

But some Democrats are saying the statements merit investigation.

The Secret Service did open an investigation into comments made by New Hampshire State Rep. Al Baldasaro, a Trump supporter, after he told a radio interviewer that Hillary Clinton "should be put in the firing line and shot for treason."

NRA: 'Donald Trump is right' about Hillary Clinton Supreme Court picks

The National Rifle Assn. tweeted its support for Donald Trump following his comments about Hillary Clinton and the 2nd Amendment at a rally in North Carolina.

Zika virus spreads to presidential politics

As the Zika virus spreads, its impact on the presidential race is also growing.

Hillary Clinton took up the cause Tuesday in the crucial swing state of Florida, which has been hit so hard by the virus that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued an unprecedented domestic travel warning, urging pregnant women to avoid a section of Miami.

It was in a health clinic inside that “hot zone” that Clinton joined other Democrats in calling for Congress to return from recess to approve a $1.9-billion emergency funding measure that stalled late last month.

The Zika bill failed after Republicans inserted provisions that would have cut funding for Planned Parenthood and other health services, prompting Democrats to withhold their votes. That has left politicians to face angry voters in Florida. Democrats, who stand ready to approve the funding if the extra provisions are stripped from the bill, are confident swing voters are angrier with Republicans.

“I am very disappointed the Congress went on recess before actually agreeing on what they would do to put the resources into this fight,” said Clinton, who spoke about Zika the same day health officials in Texas reported a baby there had died from the virus.  “This is a serious challenge.”

Donald Trump has said little about the funding controversy, suggesting last week that Florida has the Zika fight under control. Soon after, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, said the federal government has not provided his state the resources it needs.

Sen. Chris Murphy: 'It's an assassination threat'

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) responded to Donald Trump's 2nd Amendment comments. 

Trump sparks uproar by saying 'maybe there is' a way for '2nd Amendment people' to keep Clinton from naming justices

Donald Trump told supporters in North Carolina on Tuesday that there might be something supporters of gun rights could do to stop Hillary Clinton from naming Supreme Court justices, prompting critics to charge that he was suggesting his rival could be shot.

“Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the 2nd Amendment,” Trump told the crowd in Wilmington, N.C. “By the way, and if she gets to pick if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the 2nd Amendment people, maybe there is. I don’t know.”

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook released a statement 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.”

Clinton’s main Super PAC, Priorities USA, also denounced Trump.

“Donald Trump Just Suggested That Someone Shoot Hillary Clinton,” the group’s spokesman Justin Barasky said in an email to reporters. “THIS IS NOT OK.”

Jason Miller, Trump’s senior media advisor, insisted that Trump was referring only to political action by gun-rights supporters, and he assailed media coverage of the remark, releasing what he called a “statement on dishonest media” after the rally.

“It’s called the power of unification — 2nd Amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power,” it said. “And this year, they will be voting in record numbers, and it won’t be for Hillary Clinton, it will be for Donald Trump.”

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte still backing Trump after Maine Sen. Susan Collins says she cannot

Donald Trump says '2nd Amendment folks' can prevent Hillary Clinton from choosing judges

Donald Trump told supporters in North Carolina on Tuesday that there might be something supporters of gun rights could do to stop Hillary Clinton from naming Supreme Court justices, prompting critics to charge that he was suggesting his rival could be shot.

“Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the 2nd Amendment,” Trump told the crowd in Wilmington, N.C. “By the way, and if she gets to pick if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the 2nd Amendment people, maybe there is. I don’t know.”

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook released a statement 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.”

Wisconsin voters deciding House Speaker Paul Ryan's fate

House Speaker Paul Ryan is widely expected to beat insurgent Paul Nehlen in Tuesday’s GOP primary in Wisconsin. Part of the reason is voters like Howie Jones, 39.

“I’ve known him for 20 years. It’s a personal thing,” said the auto mechanic, before casting a ballot for Ryan at a middle school in the speaker’s hometown. “I think he’s doing a good job. I know some [about Nehlen], but Paul’s still my guy.”

The race has attracted national attention because of support by some conservatives and Donald Trump backers for Nehlen, who says Ryan is a tool of the establishment, donors and corporations. The House speaker supports immigration and trade policies that harm American workers, Nehlen charges.

His backers are hopeful that Nehlen can pull off an upset similar to a Virginia election two years ago when insurgent David Brat beat House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Polls show Ryan crushing Nehlen. In interviews, voters who are supporting Ryan consistently bring up his enduring ties to his district as among the reasons for their support.

“He’s a hometown guy,” said Vickie Berg, 50, who said she has met Ryan and his family several times at her church. “He’s sincere. Very down to earth, very personable.”

Nehlen’s supporters are confident that the polling is wrong.

“We’ve been at the doors for three months. We know all about what the people are saying. It’s a matter of whether our people come out or not,” said Andy Stempki, a volunteer holding a Nehlen sign outside a Janesville polling place.

The 35-year-old sailboat captain said he once supported Ryan, but accuses him of failing to lead.

“America’s at a crossroads, and either we can go down the path of globalist special interest, or we can go down the path of America first and empower the people that are actually doing the work in this country,” he said. “That’s why I’m for Mr. Nehlen, and that’s why I think Mr. Ryan’s time for retirement is coming soon.”

Still, even some Nehlen voters acknowledged the uphill battle their candidate faces.

Asked if he was optimistic about his candidate’s chances, Bruce Yungerman replied: “No, not at all.”

The 58-year-old janitor and his wife, Jo, said their votes were a statement.

“Ryan hasn’t done anything,” said Jo Yungerman, 60, adding that she wished Ryan had more actively fought Obamacare and same-sex marriage.

“We need change,” she said. “We need fresh blood.”

I worry that his tendency to lash out and his ill-informed comments would cause dangerous events to escalate and possibly spin out of control at a time when our world is beset with conflicts. That is a real problem. 

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) in an interview with CNN, talking about Donald Trump. Collins is among several Republicans who have strongly condemned Trump in public recently.

Watch: Donald Trump rallies supporters in North Carolina

Another big GOP wallet in California opens for Clinton

Reliably Republican entertainment executive Harry Sloan says he can’t stomach the thought of Donald Trump in the Oval Office. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Reliably Republican entertainment executive Harry Sloan says he can’t stomach the thought of Donald Trump in the Oval Office. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

The big money in California is continuing to flow toward Hillary Clinton – and it is not just coming from the usual places.

Following the announcement last week by Silicon Valley executive and Republican stalwart Meg Whitman that she would be opening her immense wallet and her impressive list of fundraising contacts to the Clinton campaign, on Tuesday one of the most reliably Republican entertainment executives said he would will do the same.

Former MGM Chief Executive Harry Sloan, who now heads Global Acquisition Corp., said in a statement that he can’t stomach the thought of Donald Trump in the Oval Office. It’s a big defection because Sloan was the California Finance Chair for GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign in the last election.

Sloan is a Republican to the core, having also sat on the national finance committees for John McCain in 2008 and John Kasich in this year’s GOP primary. He’s on the board of directors of McCain’s institute.

“If we had a different Republican candidate this year, I would likely be proudly supporting them,” Sloan said in a statement. But he said Trump is “unprepared and temperamentally unfit to be our president.”

The announcement comes as the Clinton campaign continues a coordinated effort to pick off GOP donors uncomfortable with Trump as the nominee.

It also follows a string of announcements from other prominent Republicans declaring they will not be voting for Trump, including 50 high-ranking national security officials who have worked for GOP administrations stretching back to the Richard Nixon White House, as well as a denunciation of Trump by Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who published a blistering critique of how Trump has behaved himself as a candidate.

Clinton makes a lot of promises – which can she keep?

 (Bill Pugliano / Getty Images)
(Bill Pugliano / Getty Images)

When Hillary Clinton reaches the point in her campaign rallies where she rattles off the things she promises to do in Washington, the list grows very long, very quickly.

If she reaches the White House, that list will need to get much shorter in a hurry.

For Clinton, as with every president, the window for transformational policies will almost certainly be small. Political capital from an election gets spent fast, and even the Clinton campaign concedes Democrats are unlikely to win full control of Congress, meaning some compromises with Republicans likely would constrain the agenda of a Clinton White House.

Clinton will need to choose among the priorities she has talked about at rallies like the ones she held last week in Denver and Las Vegas: the biggest investment in infrastructure since World War II, immigration reform, debt-free college, equal pay for women, expanded rights for labor unions, an overhaul of the nation’s multibillion-dollar electricity grid, new gun safety laws.

A look behind how presidential debates are scheduled: Can they be rigged?

 (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)
(Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

In one of Donald Trump’s newest attacks on Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, he claims she’s "trying to rig” the televised presidential debate schedule.

Trump recently used Twitter to protest the scheduled dates of the televised presidential debates this fall, accusing Clinton and the Democratic Party of manipulating the schedule to gain an advantage. In particular, he complained that two of the debates would conflict with NFL games.

The problem with Trump’s theory is that the debate schedule has been set for months. It’s determined by a nonpartisan committee that dictates everything from the date and location of a debate to who will moderate.

The Commission on Presidential Debates has sponsored every general election presidential debate since 1988. Though television networks will partner with party committees to broadcast primary campaign debates, general election debates are the commission’s domain.

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