Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Trump Considers Paying Legal Bills for Man Charged at Rally

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Trump Considers Paying Legal Bills for Man Charged at Rally

Article excerpt

ATLANTA - Republican presidential primary leader Donald Trump says he will consider paying the legal fees of a North Carolina man captured on video sucker-punching a protester at one of the billionaire's signature mass rallies. "I don't accept responsibility. I do not condone violence in any shape, Trump told NBC's "Meet the Press on Sunday.

But when asked whether he'd financially back the supporter, who was arrested and charged with assault, Trump says he's "instructed my people to look into it, yes."

Trump, meanwhile, rejected calls to modify his campaign rhetoric amid increasing instances of violence at his events. Instead he blamed Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders for sending supporters to disrupt Trump events and noted that many of the protesters who clashed with Trump supporters in Chicago on Friday night carried Sanders signs.

Sanders on Sunday vehemently denied Trump's accusations.

"To suggest that our campaign is telling people to disrupt his campaign is a lie, Sanders said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation.

Trump said his rallies are "peaceful, and accused news reports of exaggerating the violence. He demurred on multiple Sunday talk shows when reminded of his litany of incendiary statements: he'd "punch a protester "in the face, "we need a little bit more of hitting back and encouraging the crowd to "knock the crap out of protesters.

On several Sunday talk shows Trump said in one instance, he was simply defending himself against the possibility of being hit by a tomato, which he insisted could do "real damage if hurled by someone "with a strong arm. There have been no reports of a tomato being hurled at any Trump event or of one hitting the candidate.

Trump has rallies scheduled Sunday in Illinois, Florida and Ohio ahead of Tuesday primaries that likely offer GOP rivals their last shot to derail Trump from reaching the 1,237 delegates required for the Republican nomination.

The GOP leader's rivals - in both major parties - are more vocal in their criticism of Trump's rhetoric, calling it dangerous and divisive, from calling Mexican immigrants "rapists and "criminals to his repeated cracks about "punching protesters and taking them "out on a stretcher. …

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