Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump shook off questions about recurring violence at his campaign events during Thursday night's GOP debate in Miami by suggesting that his supporters' anger about the direction of the country and the local police are to blame.
After a Trump supporter sucker-punched a protester being escorted out of a campaign rally in North Carolina on Wednesday and threatened to kill him if he saw him again, CNN moderator Jake Tapper pointed out that it was "hardly the first incident of violence" at one of Trump's rallies, and asked if Trump believed he has done anything to create that kind of tone.
"I hope not. I truly hope not," Trump replied. "I will say this. We have 25 (thousand), 30,000 people — you've seen it yourself. People come with tremendous passion and love for the country, and when they see protest — in some cases — you know, you're mentioning one case, which I haven't seen, I heard about it, which I don't like. But when they see what's going on in this country, they have anger that's unbelievable. They have anger."
Trump added that he believes the anger comes from seeing "bad trade deals," "higher taxes," and "loss of their jobs."
"There is some anger. There's also great love for the country," Trump asserted. "It's a beautiful thing in many respects. But I certainly do not condone that at all, Jake."
Wednesday's incident is just another in a line of violence that has erupted at Trump campaign rallies. The Daily Beast chronicled in post including videos at least five other times where violence has broken out at Trump campaign rallies. To date, only one person has been legally charged for their part in the violence — John McGraw, the perpetrator from Wednesday's North Carolina rally.
Although Trump shook off blame, Tapper pointed out that Trump has previously promoted violence against protesters in a couple of instances, including when he told campaign supporters at an event on Feb. 1 that he would pay for their legal fees if they roughed up a protester who throws a tomato.
Trump admitted that something has to be done to take out his supporters who are "bad dudes" and have done "done bad things" and are causing "serious damage."
Trump argued that it is the responsibility of the local police and government to stop the violent campaign supporters, not the job of his campaign.
"And it's not me," Trump assured. "It's usually the municipal government, the police because I don't have guards all over these stadiums. I mean, we fill up stadiums. It's usually the police."
In his response, Trump overlooked the fact that he has told supporters in the past that he would pay for their legal fees to take out protestors and even said during one campaign event on Feb. 23 that he would like to punch a protester in the face.
Even Trump's own campaign has reportedly been physical with people. Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, has been accused of grabbing and yanking Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields nearly to the ground when she was attempting to ask the real estate mogul a question following a press conference in Florida on Tuesday.
Breitbart has called on the campaign to apologize but Trump's campaign has denied that the incident took place, despite the fact that a Washington Post reporter also witnessed the incident.
"I would just ask him to just put himself in my shoes and imagine if I was his daughter," Fields said during an interview with ABC News.