During Thursday night’s GOP debate, moderator Jake Tapper asked Donald Trump about the recent spate of violence at his rallies, including an episode on Wednesday where a white man was charged with assault after punching a black protester at a Trump rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
“This is hardly the first incident of violence breaking out at your rallies,” Tapper said. “Do you believe that you’ve done anything to create a tone where this kind of violence would be encouraged?”
Trump responded that he didn’t condone this behavior. Tapper then proceeded to rattle off a series of Trump’s own quotes from the campaign trail, including one instance in which he said about a protester: “I’d like to punch him in the face.“
Good God. Look at this gulp after Tapper rattles off all Trump’s punch-a-protester quotes pic.twitter.com/BWDDmEcc6Y
— Ride It Down (@Beer__Wolf) March 11, 2016
Trump responded by blaming the protesters: “We have some protesters who are bad dudes, they have done bad things,” Trump said. “They get in there and start hitting people. We had a couple big, strong, powerful guys doing damage to people.” Trump added that he relies on local police to remove protesters from his events, saying, “If they’re gonna be taken out, I’ll be honest, I mean, we have to run something.”