Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi suggested at a town hall that President Donald Trump’s opponents could take up arms against the president.
The New York Democrat was speaking at an event in Huntington, New York, last week and said it was important to put pressure on the president, in a video obtained by the New York Post.
“This is where the Second Amendment comes in, quite frankly,” Suozzi said. “Because you know, what if the president was to ignore the courts? What would you do? What would we do?”
In response, someone in the audience asked what the Second Amendment entails.
“The Second Amendment is the right to bear arms,” he said.
National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Chris Martin said the video was “incredibly disturbing.”
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“It’s surreal to watch a sitting member of Congress suggest that his constituents should take up arms against the President of the United States,” Martin said.
Suozzi’s campaign forwarded a line from Thomas Jefferson on the “spirit of resistance.”
“What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms,” the quote reads.
But his adviser Kim Devlin denied he was advocating for armed insurrection.
“Taking a page from such great Americans as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, Congressman Suozzi explained why our founding fathers created the 2nd Amendment as a way for citizens to fight back against a tyrannical government that does not follow the rule of law,” he said. “To suggest his comments meant anything else or that he was advocating for an armed insurrection against the existing president is both irresponsible and ridiculous.”
Suozzi’s remarks bear a resemblance to former Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle’s comment in 2010 that people should look to “Second Amendment remedies” if Congress continued to misbehave.
Similarly, in the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump said if his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton nominated a Supreme Court justice, there would be nothing gun rights advocates could do.
“Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know,” he said at the time.