Donald Trump has blamed the media after being accused of urging supporters to kill Hillary Clinton.
The Republican candidate told Fox News “dishonest” reporters had twisted his remarks, which appeared to suggest that gun rights advocates could stop Democratic rival Hillary Clinton if elected.
Donald Trump denied incitement and said he was exhorting his supporters to vote.
His gun rights comments made on August 9 sparked a firestorm of criticism.
Some interpreted his comments as a dark suggestion that gun owners could take up arms against Hillary Clinton, while others said they were at the very least irresponsible remarks that could have violent consequences.
The highest-ranked Republican, House Speaker Paul Ryan, said it was an inappropriate joke.
Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren said it was a death threat by a “pathetic coward” who was sore because he was trailing in the polls to a woman.
The controversial remarks were made at a rally in Wilmington, North Carolina, and refer to a future president’s power to nominate a judge to fill a vacancy on the US Supreme Court.
Donald Trump said of his Democratic opponent: “Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the Second Amendment, by the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks.
“But the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”
The Second Amendment enshrines the right to bear arms in the US Constitution, and there is no evidence that Hillary Clinton wants to abolish it, although she does want to tighten some restrictions.
Within minutes of him uttering the words, the criticism began to mount and Donald Trump issued a statement saying he was referring to the political power of gun rights advocates.
Hours later, Fox News host Sean Hannity told him the media had been “spinning it” differently.
Donald Trump answered by saying there could be no other interpretation of his words other than the one he had given: “Even reporters have told me, I mean give me a break. But they’re dishonest people.
“What it is there’s a tremendous power behind the Second Amendment.
“It’s a political power, and there are few things so powerful, I have to say, in terms of politics.”
Donald Trump’s remarks come after eight days of negative headlines and falling poll numbers.