The recent violence that broke out at a Trump rally prompted CNN’s Jake Tapper to ask the real estate mogul at Thursday’s GOP debate whether he believed he encouraged that type of behavior given the tone he sets at the rallies.
“I hope not, I truly hope not,” Trump responded. “We have 25,000 or 35,000 people who come with tremendous passion and love for this country …and they have anger that’s unbelievable. They love this country and they don’t like seeing bad trade deals, higher taxes, they don’t like seeing their jobs devastated. I see it. There’s anger, there’s also great love for their country. But I certainly do not condone that at all.”
Then Tapper brought up some past statements Trump’s made at rallies to press him further on the issue, pointing to the time he said he wanted to punch a protester in the face, among other examples.
“We have some protesters who are bad dudes,” Trump said. “They have done bad things and they are really dangerous and get in there and start hitting people, and we had a couple big, strong, powerful guys doing damage to people … It’s usually the police, the municipal government because I don’t have guards all over these stadiums. I mean, we fill up stadiums. “