Donald Trump 'horrifying', says Ronald Reagan's daughter Patti Davis

Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally in Ft Lauderdale, Florida (AAP)
Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally in Ft Lauderdale, Florida (AAP)

Ronald Reagan's daughter has denounced Donald Trump after the reality TV star and presidential nominee appeared to suggest Hillary Clinton be assassinated.

Patti Davis labelled Trump's comments as "glib and horrifying", 35 years after a gunman tried to assassinate her father.

On Facebook Ms Davis recounted how Mr Reagan - a Republican president and conservative icon - had survived John Hinckley Jr's assassination attempt, which the gunman claimed was inspired by a film.

"Words matter," Ms Davis says in the message, addressed to Trump.

"[Your statement was] heard by the person sitting alone in a room, locked in his own dark fantasies, who sees unbridled violence as a way to make his mark in the world, and is just looking for ideas.

"It was heard by sane and decent people who shudder at your fondness for verbal violence. It was heard by your supporters, many of whom gleefully and angrily yell, 'Lock her up!' at your rallies."

Among the controversies that have plagued Trump's campaign, incitements of violence have perhaps had the most obvious direct effects. The billionaire businessman has offered to pay legal fees for his followers that bash anti-Trump protesters and fantasised aloud about assaulting them himself.

Consequently, several clashes at Trump rallies have seen actual physical violence match his inflammatory rhetoric.

"Yes, Mr Trump, words matter. But then you know that, which makes this all even more horrifying," writes Davis.

Trump has yet to apologise for his comments about "Second Amendment people" stopping Ms Clinton, instead accusing the media of twisting his words.