Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump condemned violence against protesters at his campaign rallies during Thursday’s debate in Miami, Florida, but quickly twisted the truth to show his supporters in a favorable light.
In response to a question about whether he condones violence at his rallies, Trump said he does not. But he went on to blame protesters for the surge in assaults. He added that local law enforcement officers are patrolling the events, not his private security. He then went on to heap praise on police officers around the nation.
From TIME magazine:
“People come with tremendous passion and love for the country… and when they see what’s going on in this country, they have anger that is unbelievable,” Trump said. “They don’t like seeing bad trade deals, they don’t like seeing higher taxes, they don’t like seeing a loss of their jobs.”
“We have some protesters who are bad dudes,” Trump continued. “They have done bad things. They are swinging, they are really dangerous, and they get in there and they start hitting people.”
There has not been a documented case of protester on supporter violence at Trump rallies, and Trump did not offer specific evidence for this claim.
78-Year-Old Trump Supporter Charged With Punching BLM Protester In The Face
A 78-year-old White man attending a Donald Trump rally in North Carolina was arrested and charged Thursday with assault after punching a Black Lives Matter protester in the face.
John McGraw was at the Wednesday night event with several other zealous supporters of the Republican presidential hopeful when he threw the punch, WTVR reports.
McGraw was charged with two counts of assault and disorderly conduct after video images of the punch went viral. Due to the quick work of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, they were able to obtain McGraw’s identity and make the arrest.
After the rally, McGraw was interviewed by Inside Edition, telling them that the man “deserved it.”
“Yes, he deserved it. The next time we see him, we might have to kill him. We don’t know who he is. He might be with a terrorist organization,” he says on the video.
McGraw appears in the video to punch a black protester in the face as he was being escorted out of the venue with a group of protesters by a half-dozen police officers. The incident occurred during Trump’s rally Wednesday night in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
The department has also opened an internal investigation probing whether the officers in the video, who did not detain or arrest McGraw on site, should have done so, Swain said.
McGraw’s bond was set at $2,500 secured, and his next court date is April 6.
Donald Trump’s campaign refused to comment on the incident.
McGraw’s arrest adds to a continuing trend of intolerance from Trump supporters when protesters enter rallies or gatherings where the mogul is campaigning.
It is also the first time a Trump supporter has been formally charged after similar assaults captured on video have failed to yield arrests.
Rakeem Jones, the 26-year-old African-American man who was assaulted, told The Washington Post that the punch “came out of nowhere.”