During a Friday “Morning Joe” interview, The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart asked Donald Trump if he has any responsibility to urge his supporters to treat protesters respectfully.
Capehart held up the front page of The Post, which featured a story about Trump’s raucous rally this week in Mesa, Arizona. The paper reported that a young man there hurled a racial slur at two Latino protesters.
“You talk about leadership a lot. I’m wondering if you feel any responsibility for your crowds, for keeping them — and the passions that they clearly have, and you’ve tapped into — keeping them in check?” Capehart asked Trump. “Whether it’s Black Lives Matter protesters being punched and assaulted, or as in this story, Latinos being yelled at, ‘Motherf—ing tacos!'”
Trump first addressed the Black Lives Matter part of Capehart’s question. He appeared to interpret it as a reference to November rally in Alabama, where a heckler was reportedly punched and kicked by his supporters.
“There’s a lot of love at those rallies. There’s tremendous love there. And the person you’re referring to from Black Lives Matter was really, really out of line. I mean, the screaming was unbelievable,” Trump told Capehart. “In fact, I think Luciano Pavarotti could have taken vocal lessons from the guy. The screaming.”
Trump added that it was “the police” who dealt with the protester: “These weren’t my people.” (The day after that Alabama rally, Trump ignited a small firestorm by saying “maybe he should have been roughed up.”)
The real-estate mogul and Republican presidential front-runner proceeded to tell Capehart about the “great spirit” of the people at his campaign events.
“With all of that being said, my rallies have tremendous … spirit and tremendous love,” he continued. “These are people that love our country. These are smart people by the way, very smart people. These are people that have watched our country be so foolishly run and so stupidly run at so many levels. And these are people that have great spirit, I mean, unbelievable spirit.”
Trump also complained about how the media covers protesters at his rallies.
“The biggest problem is I can have 15,000 or 20,000 people. If there’s one person that’s a protester, that’s always: ‘Protester at Trump Rally,'” he said. “It’s really unbelievable.”
Host Joe Scarborough then defended Trump. Scarborough suggested it was unfair for the media to cherry-pick the most outrageous supporters at events, citing Confederate battle flags at then-vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s rallies in 2008.
Watch part of Trump’s ‘Morning Joe’ interview below:
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