From The Washington Post:

“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” Trump said with a shrug at a rally here after accusing Clinton of wanting to strip Americans of their gun rights. He paused, then softly offered a postscript: “Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

The denouncements came swiftly from Clinton’s campaign and her allies — and from outside politics. The insinuation, critics said, was that Trump was inciting his followers to bear arms against a sitting president. And Trump’s response was just as swift: He’d said nothing of the sort but was merely encouraging gun rights advocates to be politically involved.

The pattern has repeated itself again and again. First come Trump’s attention-getting expressions. Then come the outraged reactions. The headlines follow. Finally, Trump, his aides and his supporters lash out at the media, accusing journalists of twisting his words or missing the joke. It happened last week, when Trump appeared to kick a baby out of a rally, then later insisted that he was kidding. It happened the week before, when he encouraged Russia to hack Clinton’s emails, then claimed he was just being sarcastic.

And with each new example, Trump’s rhetorical asides grow more alarming to many who hear them — and prompt condemnations from an ever-wider universe of critics. On Tuesday, for instance, even Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), one of Trump’s most ardent defenders, struggled to fully embrace his comments. Sessions insisted in an interview on CNN that Trump did not mean to encourage violence, but he acknowledged that Trump’s words were “awkwardly phrased.”

People from other corners weighed in, too. “As the daughter of a leader who was assassinated, I find #Trump’s comments distasteful, disturbing, dangerous,” tweeted Bernice King, daughter of slain civil rights leader Martin …

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