New Jersey governor Chris Christie has defended Donald Trump's comment that Hillary Clinton's bodyguards should "disarm and see what happens to her".

Speaking in an interview with Fox News Sunday, the GOP nominee's adviser and former rival denied the comments were inciting violence.

"He was trying to make a point about Hillary Clinton wanting to have one set of rules for herself and another set for the American people," Christie said, adding Clinton's VP running mate Tim Kaine should be "ashamed of himself" for suggesting Trump's comments were an incitement to violence.

"When a race gets tight, even a guy like Tim Kaine gets desperate ... It shows how desperate and scared the Clinton campaign is right now," Christie added.

However, it is not the first time Trump has been accused of suggesting violence be used against his Democrat rival.

During a rally in Wilmington, North Carolina in August, Trump said: "Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment. By the way, if she gets to pick, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know."

He later stated his comments had been intended as a joke, but repeated a similar sentiment at Friday's (16 September) rally in Miami when he told the crowd: "I think that her bodyguards should drop all weapons. They should disarm, right?

"Take their guns away, she doesn't want guns. Take their guns and let's see what happens to her. Take their guns away. OK, it would be very dangerous."

He repeated the suggestion on his Twitter feed, with his supporters insisting he is merely illustrating the argument in favour of weapons protection.