Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), who last month became the first Congressman to endorse Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy, claimed on Tuesday that protesters at Trump’s campaign events are paid operatives working as part of the “Democrat playbook.”
Pressed by CNN host Chris Cuomo about whether he also thinks Hillary Clinton might be paying people to protest at her own rallies, Collins suggested that he would not put it past her.
Asked whether Trump saying things like “punch them in the face” was the right response to protesters, Collins defended his presidential choice. “It comes down to one thing we know about Donald Trump: if you punch him, he is gonna punch back.”
For months, dissenters at Trump rallies have been subject to violent assaults from Trump supporters. Trump, who offered to pay the legal bills of supporters who attack protesters has alternately denied the existence of violence at his rallies and defending that non-existent violence as a “very, very appropriate” response to “violent people.” Security forces at his rallies have disputed Trump’s claims of violence by his protesters.
Cuomo asked whether Collins could prove that these protesters were paid organizers, rather than just the same progressive groups who often protest in different settings, even to Hillary Clinton. “There’s no question, these are paid protesters, these are not a bunch of college kids showing up because they’ve got an issue here or there.”
Cuomo then asked whether he thinks Clinton is paying the same people “to come to her own events and make her look bad.”
Collins replied that it was possible, as “we know from her playbook she’ll do anything she can to be President of the United States. Everyone knows Hillary Clinton can’t be trusted as far as you can throw her.”
According to Snopes.com, conspiracy claims that Trump protesters are getting paid are unproven.
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