A New York congressman is facing backlash after he appeared to suggest armed resistance may be necessary if President Donald Trump refuses to comply with court orders.
The incident was captured on video at a town hall meeting. A woman asks Rep. Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y., about the ability of the president to ignore a legal mandate amid the context of the government’s system of checks and balances.
“It’s really a matter of putting public pressure on the president,” Suozzi replies in a video of the March 12 meeting, adding that it would also be necessary to go to the courts. If that didn’t work, he suggested other methods might be necessary.
“This is where the Second Amendment comes in, quite frankly, because you know, what if the president was to ignore the courts? What would you do? What would we do?,” Suozzi added.
“What is the Second Amendment?” a woman asks.
“The Second Amendment is the right to bear arms,” he answers, leading to laughter in the room. “That’s why we have it. I’m glad we have it,” he says.
National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Chris Martin called Suozzi “completely out of touch,” and said “when resistance and obstruction don’t work out, Tom Suozzi proposes violence,” reported Fox News.
Suozzi’s political adviser Kim Devlin told the New York Post Suozzi was not “advocating for an armed insurrection.”
The campaign then reportedly forwarded the newspaper a quote from Thomas Jefferson which warned, “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.”
Suozzi is a first-term congressman elected in 2016 who is seeking re-election this fall.
President Trump himself faced criticism during his campaign for appearing to suggest that “Second Amendment people” could do something if Hillary Clinton was elected and nominated a liberal supreme court justice.”
“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks,” Trump said at a rally in Wilmington, N.C. “Though the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”
The Clinton campaign called the statement “dangerous.”
A communications adviser later said Trump meant Second Amendment advocates would vote together, giving them political power, reported USA Today.