Donald Trump complained of a double standard in coverage of incidents of protests and violence post his rallies, and instead defended his campaign manager after video showed the manager grabbing a demonstrator by the collar and yanking him backward during a rally in Tucson. The Tucson rally included one of the most violent confrontations yet at a Trump appearance, when a protester being escorted out of the arena by the police was sucker-punched, knocked to the ground and repeatedly pounded and kicked by a Trump supporter.
When he was quizzed about the incident on ABC’s This Week, Trump refused to condemn the assault. “At what point do people blame the protesters?” he said, calling them “professional agitators.” He also complained of a roadblock by protesters who sought to prevent his supporters from reaching a rally outside Phoenix on Sunday.
“I think it’s very unfair that these, really, in many cases professional, in many cases sick, protesters can put cars in a road blocking thousands of great Americans from coming to a speech, and nobody says anything about that,” Trump said, adding: “It’s a very unfair double standard.”
On the other hand, Reince Priebus, the Republican national chairman, said it was a mistake for a campaign aide to get physical with protesters.
McConnell, for his part, urged stronger condemnation of violence at campaign events. “I think all the candidates for president ought to be discouraging that kind of activity because the people in the audience tend to listen to those who are speaking,” he said on “This Week,” adding: “We ought to condemn this kind of violence and encourage the American people to engage in this political debate in a respectful way.”