Asked what Trump meant by his statement on social media, campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said, “the tweets speak for themselves.”
While accepting an NRA endorsement Friday at the group’s annual convention, Trump turned his attention to Clinton’s stance on guns, claiming that the Democratic front-runner wants to “abolish the Second Amendment.”
Trump went on to say that Clinton, if elected, would release violent criminals from prison into an unarmed and vulnerable society.
“Hillary wants to disarm vulnerable Americans in high-crime neighborhoods,” Trump said. “Whether it’s a young single mom in Florida or a grandmother in Ohio, Hillary wants them to be defenseless, wants to take away any chance they have of survival. … And that’s why we’re going to call her ‘Heartless Hillary.’ ”
Clinton responded on Twitter, saying it is possible to uphold the Second Amendment while still “preventing senseless gun violence.”
Clinton’s campaign platform, which states that “gun ownership is part of the fabric of many law-abiding communities,” calls for stricter background checks; policies and procedures to keep guns away from terrorists, violent criminals and the severely mentally ill; and more accountability for dealers and manufacturers.
The Washington Post’s Jenna Johnson reported Friday that Clinton, who has criticized Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders for not being strong enough on gun control, plans to expand that focus in the general election.
She has criticized Trump for being cavalier about gun safety and warned in a Twitter message last week that Trump would force schools to allow firearms in classrooms because he no longer wants schools to be gun-free zones.
However, Clinton has never called for the repeal of the Second Amendment, and fact checkers have discredited Trump’s assertion that she would abolish it. Instead, she has said she would narrow the loophole that allows easy purchases of firearms at gun shows or online. She also has pledged to seek legislation to end immunity from many lawsuits for gunmakers.
Trump’s assertion that Clinton should not permit her Secret Service agents to carry guns was also brought up at Friday’s NRA convention.
“Heartless hypocrites like the Clintons,” Trump said, “want to get rid of guns, and yet they have bodyguards that have guns.”
He added that their bodyguards should “immediately disarm” and “let’s see how good they do. Let’s see how they feel walking around without their guns and their bodyguards. In the meantime, nobody else can have the guns.”
A representative for Clinton could not immediately be reached for comment.
Jenna Johnson contributed to this report.
This story has been updated.