Just when it looks as though Donald Trump couldn’t go any further with causing outrage, he opens his mouth. This time, the Republican candidate appeared to suggest that gun owners could do something about Hillary Clinton if she picked Supreme Court judges in favour of gun control. Here’s what he said:
‘If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the second amendment people, maybe there is. But I tell you what, that will be a horrible day.’
The backlash was immediate: Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, said that what Trump was saying is ‘dangerous’; even the Secret Service popped up (on Twitter of all places) to say they were ‘aware’ of the incident. And yet although the dog whistle in Trump’s comment couldn’t have been louder, the denials from the Republican nominee’s camp were swift. ‘It’s called the power of unification,’ said Trump spokesman Jason Miller. But unity is something Trump is now clearly struggling with. The faces of those in the crowd said it all when the Donald came out with his comment. Some were smiling; but others – even Trump supporters who would have known full well what they were in for at a Trump rally – looked shocked. And herein lies Trump’s real problem. He must try and keep his current supporters on board whilst also broadening out his appeal – a difficult task and one which, if poll ratings are anything to go on, isn’t paying off. In the RealClearPolitics poll of polls, Clinton is now 7.9 points ahead of her rival. Trump may have caused outrage with his comments but as his poll ratings continue to slip, this won’t be the last time he says the unthinkable. His campaign is floundering and he needs headlines. But the danger in grabbing the news as he has done with his latest remarks is that it has the price of doing nothing to win over new supporters – and it could also be a step too far for those already on board.