PHOENIX — Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) has said Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s Second Amendment rhetoric could serve as a “magnet for those seeking infamy.”
Giffords made the claim in a statement released to The Hill on Tuesday, shortly after Trump made comments that some took as a possible call for violence against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Claiming falsely that Clinton wants to revoke the right to gun ownership guaranteed in the Constitution’s Second Amendment, Trump said there would be “nothing you can do,” if she’s elected, to stop her from stacking the Supreme Court with anti-gun justices.
Then he added ambiguously: “Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is — I don’t know. But I’ll tell you what: that will be a horrible day.”
Though his supporters were quick to say Trump was attempting to encourage Second Amendment supporters to vote, Giffords said his words — no matter their intention — could serve as encouragement for an unstable person to commit an atrocity.
“Responsible, stable individuals won’t take Trump’s rhetoric to its literal end, but his words may provide a magnet for those seeking infamy,” the statement read. “They may provide inspiration or permission for those bent on bloodshed.”
Giffords, who was nearly killed by a gunman at a rally in Tucson five years ago, said politicians must “draw a bright red line between political speech and suggestions of violence.”
“What political leaders say matters to their followers,” the statement read. “When candidates descend into coarseness and insult, our politics follow suit. When they affirm violence, we should fear that violence will follow.”
Giffords called for Americans to speak out against Trump’s rhetoric via Twitter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.