Sunday morning, Donald Trump took to the various political shows to reject the notion that anybody has been hurt at any of his rallies. Though he acknowledged there had been protests, he adamantly claimed that “nobody’s been hurt” and objected that the media only shows clips of him supporting violence but none of him decrying it.
“I do not accept responsibility,” Trump said on Meet The Press. “I do not condone violence in any shape.”
He boasted about all the credit he has received for shutting down his rally in Chicago Friday night, neglecting to acknowledge the chaos that ensued after that decision was made. “I canceled, and I did a great thing by canceling it, because who needs the problems? Who needs people getting hurt? I didn’t want that.”
But Trump stood by his comments telling supporters to take whatever action necessary to stop a protester prepared to throw a tomato, pointing out that he could be severely hurt. “Now, you get hit in the face with a tomato, let me tell you — with someone with a strong arm, at least — let me tell you, it can be very damaging. Not good.” Thus, supporters have to “do whatever you want to do” to stop them. “I have no objection to what I said. I would say it again.”
Speaking about the sucker punch that took place at a rally this week, Trump confirmed to Chuck Todd that he’s asked his people to look into supporting the legal fees for the supporter who threw the punch. His understanding is that the protester who was punched taunted the 78-year-old man who punched him by showing “a certain finger,” but admitted that such a taunt does not justify the sucker punch.
According to Trump, these incidents are spurred not by “protesters,” but by “professional disruptors,” as he calls them. He believes they are being sent by the Bernie Sanders (D) campaign, simply because some are using official Sanders campaign signs — which of course can be purchased from his campaign site. “We ought to go to his rallies,” Trump told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “If conservative Republicans ever went into his rally, you would see things happen that would be unbelievable,” suggesting there would have to be multiple arrests from the confrontations that would arise.
“How many people have been injured at my rallies? Zero. It’s been zero,” Trump said, claiming CNN reports on his campaign “very very unfairly.”
He was even more adamant about the claim on Fox News Sunday. “Nobody’s been hurt at all. As big as these rallies are, nobody’s ever been hurt. We talk and we try and be good. And I will tell you, some of the protesters are very rough and they’re bad dudes and they swing and they punch and nobody ever talks about that in the media,” he told Chris Wallace.
“Who do you know that’s been hurt over the past number of months? Nobody. Nobody’s been hurt,” he claimed. “With rallies of 25 and 35 thousand people, you don’t know of one injury in any of our rallies.”
Trump’s supporters seem to agree that the candidate should not be held responsible for what’s happening. Speaking to ThinkProgress over the weekend, they similarly downplayed the incidents that have taken place and some even blamed liberals for what was happening instead.
All three of the other remaining Republican candidates — John Kasich, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio — also joined the Sunday shows and rebuked the kind of violence that Trump has been fostering. All three, however, stood by their claim that they would support whoever the Republican nominee ultimately is, but Rubio acknowledged on ABC’s This Week that “it’s getting harder every day.”