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Politics

Trump says Clinton bodyguards should disarm and ‘let’s see what happens to her’

Trump supporter
Janusz Biskupek of Boca Raton, Fla., a supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, shouts Friday at protesters outside a campaign rally attended by Trump in Miami.
(Lynne Sladky / Associated Press)

Donald Trump suggested Friday that Hillary Clinton’s Secret Service bodyguards “should disarm immediately” because of her support for gun control, saying: “Let’s see what happens to her, OK? It would be very dangerous.”

Trump’s comment, which the Clinton campaign called an invitation to commit violence against the Democratic presidential nominee, came at a Miami rally thick with racial politics on the day he finally conceded that President Obama was born in the United States.

After falsely accusing Clinton of opposing the 2nd Amendment (she supports the right to own firearms, but supports tighter gun controls), the Republican nominee said his rival “goes around with armed bodyguards like you have never seen before.” He suggested that that her Secret Service agents “drop all weapons.”

“I think they should disarm immediately,” Trump, who also travels with a large Secret Service detail, told a crowd of several thousand at an arena in downtown Miami.

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“What do you think, yes? Take their guns away. She doesn’t want guns. Let’s see what happens to her,” he said. “Take their guns away, OK? It would be very dangerous.”

Critics called Trump reckless and dangerous last month 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.”

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said Trump’s Friday night comments, in view of past remarks, fit “a pattern of inciting people to violence.”

“This kind of talk 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,” Mook said in a written statement.

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Trump, whose conspiracy theories about Obama’s birth helped make him deeply unpopular among African Americans, made no reference to the matter at his Miami rally.

But he faulted Clinton and other Democrats for questioning his devotion to the cause of improving the lives of black residents of urban areas with “no jobs,” “the worst education” and streets so dangerous it’s impossible to walk around without “getting shot.” 

“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.” 

He added, “And they’re very happy. 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 said at the Miami rally, alluding to a quick meeting with supporters who, with no 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.

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But Trump pressed forward Friday with his portrayal of Obama as a president who is treated with less respect than his predecessors, saying leaders of Cuba, Saudi Arabia and China had failed to greet him properly on trips abroad.

“Air Force One has never been treated so badly in its long and incredible history,” Trump said. “Air Force One used to land, and people would respect the people inside, and they’d come out and there would be all sorts of hoopla. Not anymore.”

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.

“All of the concessions that Barack Obama has granted the Castro regime were done through executive order, which means the next president can reverse them,” he said. “And that I will do, unless the Castro regime meets our demands.”

Among them, he told the cheering crowd, would be “religious and political freedom for the Cuban people and the freeing of political prisoners.”

michael.finnegan@latimes.com

Twitter: @finneganLAT

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