In August 2015, then-candidate Donald Trump strongly criticized Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders for showing that he’s “weak” by allowing Black Lives Matter protesters to take control of the microphone at a campaign event in Seattle. CNN’s Eric Bradner reproduced the full Trump comment: “I would never give up my microphone. I thought that was disgusting. That showed such weakness, the way he was taken away by two young women -- the microphone; they just took the whole place over… That will never happen with me." Trump continued, “I don't know if I'll do the fighting myself or if other people will, but that was a disgrace. I felt badly for him. But it showed that he's weak.”
In November 2015, another protester yelled “Black Lives Matter” at a Trump rally in Birmingham, Alabama. A fight soon broke out, the protester fell to the ground, and he was allegedly kicked and punched by several white men. At the rally, Trump declared, “Get him the hell out of here, will you, please? Get him out of here. Throw him out!” As the man was escorted by security from the event, members of the crowd repeatedly pushed and shoved him. The following day, Trump said “Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.” Trump complained that the man was “so obnoxious and so loud, he was screaming.”
In January 2016, a protester threw a tomato at a Trump rally in Iowa City, Iowa. A week later, on the February day of the Iowa caucuses, Trump told his audience in Cedar Rapids: “If you see somebody with a tomato, knock the crap out of them.” ABC News reported that Trump told his crowd, “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously, OK? Just knock the hell ... I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise."
In another February 2016 event in Las Vegas, Nevada, Trump accused a protester of throwing punches at security guards. He told the crowd, “You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher. I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell ya.” At the same event, Trump referenced the leader of Iranians who took US Navy sailors hostage as a “rough guy with a rough mouth — I’d like to smack the hell out of him.”
At still another February 2016 rally in Warren, Michigan, Trump reacted to a protester by declaring “Get him out.” He added, “Try not to hurt him. If you do, I'll defend you in court. Don't worry about it.”
In March 2016, when his rally in St. Louis, Missouri, was repeatedly interrupted by protesters, Trump said, “Part of the problem and part of the reason it takes so long [to kick them out] is nobody wants to hurt each other anymore… There used to be consequences. There are none anymore.” Trump continued: “These people are so bad for our country. You have no idea folks, you have no idea.”
At an August 2016 rally in North Carolina, Trump said it would be a “horrible day” if his opponent Hillary Clinton is elected President. “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks… Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.”
Trump’s violent rhetoric continued after becoming president.
In a July 2017 speech to law enforcement officers on Long Island, Trump said “And when you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon — you just see them thrown in, rough — I said, please don’t be too nice. (Laughter.) Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over? Like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody — don’t hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, okay?”
In July 2017, Trump shared a controversial edited video on Twitter revealing Trump in a 2007 WWE skit violently attacking another man who had been standing near a wrestling ring. In the doctored version shared by Trump, the CNN logo was placed in the area where the man’s face would be.
In October 2018, Trump praised Montana RepublicanRepresentative Greg Gianforte who body slammed a reporter at a rally. Trump declared, “Any guy that can do a body slam, he is my type!”
In a March 2019 interview with Breitbart News, Trump was discussing the tactics used by Democrats to use subpoena power in its investigations of the president: “I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump — I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”
On September 29, 2019, Trump tweeted a quote from a supporter speaking on Fox News who said that a successful impeachment would cause civil war: “If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.” Pastor Robert Jeffress.”
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