President Donald Trump, in an interview with right-wing Breitbart News, warned of his “tough” supporters who could make things “very bad” for his political opponents.

“I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump,” he said. “I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad,” the president added.

Trump tweeted a link to the interview last week.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) debated whether this was an “implicit threat” or not. “It sounds very much to me like he’s encouraging them to engage in something that’s probably illegal such as assaulting people,” Hirono told MSNBC in a Wednesday interview.

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The tweet was deleted early Friday following the massacre at two mosques in New Zealand where the death toll has risen to 50 with many others injured. The White House declined to comment when pressed for the reasoning behind the president’s decision to remove the tweet.

White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway quickly went on damage control in an interview with CNN late Thursday. “You have to read the entire interview,” Conway said. “He was talking about how peaceful and gentle many people are who are otherwise tough.”

This isn’t the first time Trump alluded to the violence his supporters could muster if provoked. They have become a staple at his rallies. During the 2016 election, Trump told supporters at one rally that “if she [Hillery Clinton] gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” Trump said. “Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.”


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