After his supporters beat up a Black Lives Matter protester on video, Donald Trump suggested that they may have done the right thing.
The protester, a black man, reportedly started chanting Black Lives Matter at a rally in Birmingham, Alabama on Saturday. In a video captured by CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond, rally attendees swarm around the man, kicking and punching him as he curls up on the ground.
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) November 21, 2015
Trump was asked to weigh in on his supporters’ actions on Fox & Friends Sunday morning. “Maybe he should have been roughed up,” he said. “It was disgusting what he was doing.”
The Republican frontrunner compared what happened at his rally to a Black Lives Matter protest at a Bernie Sanders event, which prompted the Democratic candidate to release a detailed racial justice plan. “This is not the way Bernie Sanders handled his problem, I will tell you, but I have a lot of fans and they were not happy about it. And this was a very obnoxious guy, a troublemaker, looking to make trouble,” Trump said.
He gave a similarly winking response when his supporters have turned violent in the past. Two men in Boston said they ambushed and brutally beat a homeless Latino man because they were “inspired” by Trump, who later explained his supporters “are very passionate” and “love this country.”
Reports of Trump supporters launching violent and racist attacks have become fairly commonplace. Another recent rally took a dark turn when attendees shoved and spat on on immigration advocates. The following week, Trump supporters were filmed dragging and kicking an immigration activist while others yelled “U-S-A! U-S-A!”
After a slew of these highly publicized incidents, Trump’s campaign began corralling media this week and refused to allow reporters into the crowd at rallies.