Twitter explodes over Trump Second Amendment 'joke'

Technically Incorrect: An aside made by the Republican candidate was interpreted by many as suggesting the assassination of his Democratic opponent.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

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Donald Trump. Offering quips?

CNN/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

"Hey," hissed Twitter. "The Second Amendment is trending."

"Oh no. Not again," I muttered.

I'm sure you're familiar with this amendment. It's the one that ensures that well-regulated militias have the right to bear arms.

But we're all militias of one these days, aren't we? Or at least a lot of people seem to think they are.

So when Donald Trump offered his thoughts on the Second Amendment at an event in North Carolina on Tuesday, Twitter was excited, aghast, delighted and appalled.

The Republican candidate said that Hillary Clinton wants to "essentially abolish" this amendment.

"If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks," he said. It's true. Democracy can be annoying that way.

However, Trump added: "Although the Second Amendment people...maybe there is, I don't know."

Ah, that tantalizing Trumpist tendency toward nuance.

You're likely familiar with it by now.

He tells you that he's heard many people say something and this must mean that many people really have said that thing, rather than just, say, being a helium-filled tease.

The tweets immediately poured in.

US Rep. Kathleen Rice mused: "What would Secret Service do if a citizen suggested that '2nd Amendment people' *do something* to stop a presidential nominee?"

For many, you see, it seemed as if Trump was inciting one of his slightly less level-headed supporters to assassinate his opponent.

Some, though, insisted that Trump has right, as well as might, on his side.

Talk show host Bill Mitchell helpfully explained: "The 2nd Amendment wasn't written so people could hunt. It was written so people could protect themselves from tyrannical government. #fact."

I'm not entirely sure it covers the hunting down of someone whose political views you happen not to like.

The Trump campaign didn't immediately respond to a request for elucidation. CNN, however, reported that his campaign insisted that this was just a rallying cry.

"It's called the power of unification -- 2nd Amendment people have amazing spirit and are tremendously unified, which gives them great political power," said a campaign spokesman.

For her part, Hillary Clinton's Twitter feed offered a quote from the candidate: "'A person seeking to be the President of the United States should not suggest violence in any way.'"

For its part, the Secret Service also took to Twitter: "The Secret Service is aware of the comments made earlier this afternoon."

For the rest of Twitter, as tens of thousands of tweets gushed, it didn't mean Trump's comments -- or other people's tweets -- seemed to change anyone's mind.

The NRA declared that Trump was right, while former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe insisted this was clearly an assassination threat.

I couldn't find a tweet that read: "Goodness. Now I see. Donald Trump isn't the upstanding, buccaneering individual I thought he was."

Nor could I find one that read: "I was on the fence about Hillary Clinton, but now I see that she might even take away my kids' water pistols."

Instead, I saw phrases such as "new low" atop suggestions that viewing these words as a threat was merely the invention of the "idiot media."

Tomorrow on Twitter: Donald Trump reveals his secrets on how to stay trending until the end of time.