WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal official on Wednesday said the U.S. Secret Service had not formally spoken with Republican Donald Trump’s presidential campaign regarding his suggestion a day earlier that gun rights activists could stop Democratic rival Hillary Clinton from curtailing their access to firearms.
Following Trump’s comment at a rally on Tuesday in which he suggested that gun rights activists could stop Clinton from appointing liberal anti-gun justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, a federal official familiar with the matter told Reuters that there had been no formal conversations between the Secret Service and the Trump campaign.
Earlier CNN had reported that there had been multiple conversations between the campaign and the agency.
“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks,” Trump told a North Carolina campaign rally on Tuesday. “Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know,” he added, leading some critics to believe Trump was referring to gun violence against his rival.
The controversy came as the campaign tried to stay on message after a contentious previous week. Trump weathered criticism within his own party for delaying endorsements of fellow Republicans and for a prolonged clash with the family of a fallen Muslim American U.S. Army captain.
The campaign denied that inciting violence had been the intent of Tuesday’s remark, and on Wednesday said there had been no conversations with the Secret Service about it.
“No such meeting or conversation ever happened,” Trump wrote on Twitter, accusing CNN of having made up the report.
Reporting by Alana Wise; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Sandra Maler