Republican frontrunner Donald Trump claimed Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union that “zero” people had been injured at his rallies before Friday night’s unrest in Chicago.
However, a man at a Trump rally just last week in North Carolina was arrested for assaulting a black protester, and in St. Louis on Friday, 31 people were arrested for disturbing the peace and one was charged with assault. There were also images of another black protester with a bloodied face receiving medical attention in the aftermath.
Last month, a photographer was choked and tackled by security at a Trump rally in Virginia.
Trump cancelled a rally Friday night in Chicago as anti-Trump protesters took over the event, and television broadcast live images of fighting and screaming between Trump’s supporters and his detractors.
The ugly scene prompted Trump’s rivals on both sides of the aisle to caution him to cool his rhetoric at campaign rallies, which has included stating he’d like to personally punch protesters in the race, see them carried out on stretchers, and offer to pay legal fees for his supporters who did support protesters.
“The danger was ended by a very good managerial decision not to have that particular rally, to postpone it,” Trump said.
Trump then cut over host Jake Tapper to take exception to claims that his rallies have been dangerous.
“Jake, could I ask you a question?” Trump asked. “You made a statement that at my rallies … it’s dangerous. Other than for the other day with Chicago and the one man that rushed the stage and Secret Service did a very good job, but other than that, with thousands of people, 21,000, 25,000, 35,000 people a few weeks ago in Alabama, how many people have been injured at my rallies? Zero. Zero. There’s been nobody injured.”
“I don’t think that it’s zero,” Tapper said.
“But you make it like everybody’s being broken down and injured because CNN reports very, very unfairly about me,” Trump said. “I’ll tell you what … I’m just a messenger, because there is a lot of anger in this country and it’s anger at incompetence. It’s anger at the border. It’s anger at trade deals that are so bad for us and all our jobs are being taken out of the country.
“There is a lot of anger. I didn’t need to do this. I have a wonderful life. I have a great, great company. I didn’t need to do this. I wanted to do it because somebody has to do it.”
In a remarkable moment for a political interview, Tapper implored Trump at the end to consider “trying to bring down the temperature.”
“I hear you, sir, about the causes of the anger. I would just ask as a fellow American if you could consider whether or not dialing down the temperature, trying to bring down the temperature might be a healthier thing both for your campaign and for the nation at large,” Tapper said.
“You should report it right, because we’ve had no injuries at my events with thousands of people, but you just don’t report it that way, so, you know, do what you have to do,” Trump said.