U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen – still deciding whether he will vote for his party's presidential nominee, Donald Trump - on Wednesday declined to more forcefully denounce Trump's vague but seeming encouragement of violence against his opponent over her gun-control position.
"My vote has to been earned, and it has not been earned," said Paulsen, the Third District incumbent congressman seeking re-election this fall. "I heard about those comments late last night -- I'll just say that words matter," Paulsen said. "They especially matter for presidential candidates."
Trump on Tuesday told supporters at a rally that Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, would seek to abolish Americans' Second Amendment rights. He said any Clinton picks to the U.S. Supreme Court would be "a horrible day" for gun rights.
“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” Trump said, quickly adding: “Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.”
Paulsen faces state Sen. Terri Bonoff of Minnetonka, who has continually called on Paulsen to repudiate Trump, as some other congressional Republicans have.
“Donald Trump’s remarks continue to reveal that he is unfit to lead this Nation," Bonoff said in a statement. "At a time when gun violence is tearing through our country, these comments are inappropriate. Erik Paulsen, what could this man possibly do at this point to earn your support?"
Paulsen on Wednesday accepted the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at an Excelsior event.