Trump sparks fresh fury with Clinton gun comments

US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump sparked fresh controversy late Friday after he appeared to refer to the potential assassination of his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for a second time.

"I think that her bodyguards should drop all weapons. Disarm immediately," Trump told a rally in Miami. "Take their guns away ... let's see what happens to her."

"Take their guns away, OK? It'll be very dangerous," he continued.

Clinton's campaign manager Robby Mook slammed the comments, saying they ought to be "out of bounds for a presidential candidate."

"Whether this is done to provoke protesters at a rally or casually or even as a joke, it is an unacceptable quality in anyone seeking the job of commander in chief," said Mook in a statement quoted by CNN.

The comments came a month after Trump was accused of encouraging gun owners to assassinate Clinton if she wins the November 8 election.

"Hillary wants to ... essentially abolish the Second Amendment," Trump said at a rally in North Carolina in early August, referring to the US Constitution's enshrinement of the right to bear arms.

"By the way, and if she gets ... to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don't know," he continued.

Trump at the time denied the comments were an incitement to violence, saying he was encouraging guns rights activists to take to the ballot box and vote for him.

Friday's comments also came hours after Trump, who for years had questioned Barack Obama's nationality as part of the "birther" movement, acknowledged for the first time that the president was a native-born US citizen.

"President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again," Trump said in an appearance at his company's newly opened hotel in Washington.

The US Constitution requires the president to be a citizen by birth.

Obama, the first African-American president, was born in Hawaii to married university students. His mother was a Kansas native, and his father was a foreign student from Kenya.

Clinton's campaign blasted his comments as "disgraceful," while Obama himself laughed off the issue, telling reporters he had "no reaction" to Trump's apparent reversal.

"I'm shocked that a question like that would come up at a time when we've got so many other things to do," Obama said before meetings Friday at the White House.

"Well, I'm not that shocked, actually. It's fairly typical. ... I was pretty confident about where I was born. I think most people were, as well. And my hope would be that the presidential election reflects more serious issues than that."

Last update: Sat, 17/09/2016 - 09:41

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