Donald Trump rejected responsibility Sunday for violence at his rallies and suggested his backers may retaliate by protesting Bernie Sanders events.
“Many of these people come from Bernie,” Trump said on CBS’ Face The Nation when asked about what he called “professional disrupters” who are attending his events.
Trump was more explicit in a Sunday tweet: “Bernie Sanders is lying when he says his disruptors aren’t told to go to my events. Be careful Bernie, or my supporters will go to yours!”
Sanders, appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, said Trump is the one creating a toxic atmosphere; the Democratic candidate said his campaign has had nothing to do with protests at Trump rallies, and that the Republican candidate is simply making things up, again.
“This man cannot stop lying about anything,” Sanders said.
Trump did an array of Sunday show two days after canceling a rally in Chicago because of violence between supporters and critics.
Republican rivals say the violence is a natural outgrowth of Trump’s rhetoric, such as statements he would like to punch a protester in the face, that some protesters could be taken out on stretchers, and that he would pay the legal fees of supporters who strike back. Last week, a supporter at a rally in North Carolina punched a protester in the face as police escorted him out.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who is chasing Trump in the fight for delegates, told NBC’s Meet The Press that it’s wrong for protesters to try and shut down Trump rallies, but “at the end of the day in any campaign, responsibility starts at the top. And it is not beneficial when you have a presidential candidate like Donald Trump telling his supporters, ‘Punch that guy in the face.'”
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SOURCE: USA Today, David M Jackson