Veteran journalist and former CBS News anchor Dan Rather slammed Donald Trump's controversial remark about the Second Amendment as "a direct threat of violence" against opponent Hillary Clinton.

"When he suggested that 'the Second Amendment People' can stop Hillary Clinton, he crossed a line with dangerous potential," Rather wrote Tuesday on his Facebook page. "By any objective analysis, this is a new low and unprecedented in the history of American presidential politics."

Trump earlier in the day said at a campaign rally in North Carolina that "Hillary essentially wants to abolish the Second Amendment." He told the crowd there's "nothing you can do," should she nominate Supreme Court justices who make rulings that add new government regulations on guns.

In his unscripted remarks, he added, "Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don't know."

Trump's critics said the candidate was clearly inciting violence against his opponent while Trump himself said he was talking about the cohesive political power of the NRA and Second Amendment enthusiasts.

"Candidate Trump will undoubtably issue an explanation; some of his surrogates are already engaged in trying to gloss it over, but once the words are out there they cannot be taken back," said Rather. "That is what inciting violence means."