Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) received backlash over a comment he made during a town hall last week in which he implied that Americans should use force if President Donald Trump does not follow the Constitution.
“It’s really a matter of putting public pressure on the president,” Suozzi said in a video obtained by the New York Post. “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?”
Someone in the crowd at the town hall, which took place in Huntington, asked Suozzi what the Second Amendment did, to which the congressman replied it gave people the right to bear arms, the Post reported.
The comment drew a swift backlash from Republicans.
“This video is incredibly disturbing,” National Republican Campaign Committee spokesman Chris Martin told the Post. “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.”
Kim Devlin, a senior advisor to Suozzi, said that he was not calling for any sort of violence against Trump.
“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,” Devlin wrote in a statement.
She said the congressman was only attempting to explain the meaning behind the Second Amendment.
“Taking a page from such great Americans as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, Congressman Suozzi explained why our founding fathers created the Second Amendment as a way for citizens to fight back against a tyrannical government that does not follow the rule of law,” the statement said.
Suozzi has not typically been an advocate for Second Amendment rights. He will be participating in a March for Our Lives rally this weekend and called for stricter gun control in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland.