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Politics

Trump again suggests Clinton’s Secret Service bodyguards disarm: ‘Let’s see what happens’

Secret Service
Members of the Secret Service keep watch as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally this month in Charlotte, N.C.
(Andrew Harnik/Associated Press)

Donald Trump invoked the possibility of a violent assault on Hillary Clinton once again on Saturday, a day after he suggested that her Secret Service bodyguards disarm and “let’s see what happens.”

In a post Saturday morning on Twitter, Trump falsely accused Clinton of trying to take away Americans' 2nd Amendment rights, just as he did Friday night at a Miami rally where he said her Secret Service agents should “drop all weapons.”

“Will guns be taken from her heavily armed Secret Service detail? Maybe not!” Trump tweeted.

Trump said Friday night that Clinton’s Secret Service detail should disarm because she supports gun control. “What do you think, yes?” he asked the crowd. “Take their guns away. She doesn’t want guns. Let’s see what happens to her. Take their guns away, OK? It would be very dangerous.”

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Trump’s repeated joking about disarming the Secret Service agents who protect his opponent from violent attacks is unique in modern presidential politics. The Republican nominee also has condoned violence by his supporters against hecklers who disrupt his rallies, which are periodically marred by fist fights and racially charged shouting matches.

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said Trump’s comments in Miami fit a disturbing pattern of encouraging violence.

“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,” he said in a statement.

At the rally in downtown Miami, Trump told several thousand supporters that Clinton “goes around with armed bodyguards like you have never seen before.”

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“I think they should disarm immediately,” Trump, who also travels with a large armed Secret Service detail, told his cheering supporters.

Trump’s previous jokes about forcing Clinton’s bodyguards to give up their firearms hadn’t invoked a possible attack so overtly.  At a Trump rally in March, Secret Service agents leaped on stage and surrounded him as colleagues tackled a man who jumped a barricade and ran toward the candidate.

Trump had previously joked about forcing Clinton’s bodyguards to give up their firearms, but hadn’t invoked a possible attack so overtly.

Last month, critics called Trump reckless and dangerous for telling a North Carolina crowd there was nothing they could do about Clinton naming judges if she’s elected, “although the 2nd Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

“This kind of talk,” Mook said in the Clinton statement, “should be out of bounds for a presidential candidate, just like it should be out of bounds for a presidential candidate to peddle a conspiracy theory about the president of the United States for five years.”

Trump’s Miami rally came just hours after he conceded for the first time that President Obama was born in the United States, and the racial politics in his remarks were raw.

Trump, whose years of spreading conspiracy theories about Obama’s birth helped make him deeply unpopular among African Americans, made no reference to the “birther” matter in Miami.

But he faulted Clinton and other Democrats for questioning his devotion to helping black residents of urban areas with “no jobs,” “the worst education” and streets so dangerous “you get shot or your child gets shot.”

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“They talk all the time about racist, racist – the only word they know,” he said.

Trump told the crowd he employed many people at his resorts in the Miami area — “a lot of African American employees, a lot of Hispanic employees.” 

“And they’re very happy,” he added. “They like Donald Trump.”

Trump’s derogatory remarks about Mexicans, Muslims, women and other groups have led critics in both parties to call him a racist and misogynist. Over the last month, he has tried to remake his image by casting himself as a champion of poor blacks and Latinos, whom he says Democrats have neglected.

“I just left Little Haiti,” Trump told the Miami crowd, alluding to a quick meeting with supporters who, without citing any evidence, accused President Bill Clinton of plundering Haitian earthquake relief programs.

“The love is unbelievable. It’s unbelievable. There’s no racist — there’s no nothing. It’s love,” he said.

Many in Trump’s audience were Cuban Americans, a cornerstone of Republican support in Florida. They cheered enthusiastically as Trump faulted Obama for the thaw in U.S. relations with Cuba.

Election 2016 | Live coverage on Trail Guide | Sign up for the newsletter »

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michael.finnegan@latimes.com

Twitter: @finneganLAT

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