Correction: Corrects to make clear that Trump tweeted a link to Breitbart’s homepage, not the specific story about the interview with him.
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump sparked controversy in a Breitbart interview during which he touted the toughness of his supporters.
In his chat with the Breitbart News Network, Trump said: "I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad."
Trump's critics accused him of fomenting violence. Breitbart said Trump was talking about the "vicious" tactics of "the left."
"So here’s the thing—it’s so terrible what’s happening,” Trump said before discussing his supporters. “You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. Okay?"
Trump on Thursday night tweeted a link to the Breitbart homepage but the tweet had disappeared as of Friday morning. The White House did not comment on Trump's deletion of the tweet.
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Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, speaking on MSNBC, said Trump's comments to Breitbart sounded "like a threat to me. I think it's appalling."
"I think it sounds very much to me like he’s encouraging them to engage in something that’s probably illegal such as assaulting people, you know behave in a dangerous way," she said.
Social media users criticized Trump for tweeting the Breitbart homepage as news was breaking about the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that left 49 people dead.
On Friday morning, Trump tweeted a condemnation of the the attacks.
"My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured," Trump said. "The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!"
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Donald Trump stirs controversy with Breitbart interview about his 'tough' supporters