John Kasich said today that bronzed potato Donald Trump has created a "toxic atmosphere" in the Republican race; Marco Rubio said that "[violence] is what the Republican Party's going to be defined by" if Trump is the nominee. But thanks to the perks of having no interior life, Trump adamantly refused to take any responsibility for his supporters' increasingly violent actions (spurred on by his own increasingly violent rhetoric). And in defending himself while visiting the Sunday morning talk shows, Trump ended up encouraging his most dangerous, unhinged supporter with the same kind of dogwhistling that has carried him to his current position at the Republican frontrunner.
In four TV interviews this AM, Trump was asked in some form if he takes responsibility for violence at his rallies.
His answer: no.
— Kyle Blaine (@kyletblaine) March 13, 2016
Trump said on "Meet the Press" that he was looking into paying the legal fees for his supporter who sucker-punched a protester in the face last week. That protester, 78-year-old John McGraw, 78, has been charged for punching a black protester, Rakeem Jones, in the face as he was being escorted out of a Trump rally in North Carolina. Afterwards, McGraw said: "The next time we see him, we might have to kill him."
"The man got carried away, he was 78-years-old, he obviously loves his country, and maybe he doesn't like seeing what's happening to the country," Trump told Chuck Todd. "Well, I'm going to look at [paying his legal fees]. I'm going to see, you know, what was behind this because it was a strange event. I've actually instructed my people to look into it, yes."
While Trump may defend a violent attacker as someone who "obviously loves his country" and turn a blind eye to his terrifying supporters telling people "to go to fucking Auschwitz," he doesn't think his equally-passionate opponents are deserving of such benefit of the doubt: "They’re professional disruptors," he told John Dickerson on CBS’s "Face the Nation." "I think they protest and they disrupt and that’s what they do. They don’t love this country."
Just to reiterate: amid violence at rallies, GOP frontrunner wants to pay legal bills of man who threw the punch, not the one hurt by it.
— Michael Barbaro (@mikiebarb) March 13, 2016
"I don't accept responsibility, I do not condone violence in any shape," Trump says in the clip below. But talking out of one side of your mouth does not constitute any actual conviction, and undermining that by discussing paying the legal fees of one such violent supporter completely obliterates any hint of honesty. Even given the chance to disavow his previous statements about missing the "old days" when someone could punch a protester in the face and see them "carried out on a stretcher," Trump refuses:
And because doubling down is something Trump is good at, he further encouraged the violent rhetoric with a tweet threat directed at Bernie Sanders this morning (see below). Speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union," he denied it was a threat, and instead deployed double-speak to argue that he "should get credit, not be scorned" for how he's handled these "disruptions" from his enemies.
Bernie Sanders is lying when he says his disruptors aren't told to go to my events. Be careful Bernie, or my supporters will go to yours!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2016
In response to all that, Sanders told Tapper that his campaign "had nothing to do" with what happened in Chicago. "Even his Republican colleagues make this point: His language, his intonation, when he talks about carrying people out in stretchers...this is a man who keeps implying violence, and then you end up getting what you seek," he said.
Racist backlash followed by loathing at prospect of female POTUS. Trump is the hill on which white men wish to die. https://t.co/c1dj8KR6ap
— David Simon (@AoDespair) March 13, 2016
At a rally yesterday, Trump vowed to press criminal charges on protesters and ruin their lives with an arrest record. “I hope these guys get thrown into a jail,” Trump said. "I don’t want to ruin people’s lives. But the only way we’re gonna stop this craziness is if we press charges. Because then their lives are gonna be ruined, they’re gonna know their lives are gonna be ruined. So I’ll just tell you folks, from now on, if you do anything, we’re pressing charges, okay?" Skip to 1:42 in the video below to get to the protester remarks.
Then there was the man who tried to rush the stage at his Ohio rally Saturday morning. Trump tweeted a now-debunked video (see below) from one of his followers claiming that protester, Thomas Dimassimo, was an ISIS supporter. "It was probably ISIS or ISIS-related. Do you believe it?" Trump said at another rally later that day.
USSS did an excellent job stopping the maniac running to the stage. He has ties to ISIS. Should be in jail! https://t.co/tkzbHg7wyD?ssr=true
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2016
This, of course, turned out to not be true. But what is truth in the face of Some Shit I Was Forwarded On The Internet?! Chuck Todd pointed this out to Trump, who continued to defend his fervid ignorance, noting, "Now, I don’t know, what do I know about it? All I know is what’s on the internet."
Honestly, though, “All I know is what’s on the Internet” is probably a pretty good summary of Election 2016.
— Sonny Bunch (@SonnyBunch) March 13, 2016
Breitbart refusing to note this guy wasn't ISIS is some Pravda-style shit pic.twitter.com/8ShVdTPblS
— andrew kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) March 13, 2016
Apparently, during all these TV appearances, nobody had time to ask Trump about the criminal complaint filed against his campaign manager by Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields. Buzzfeed does point out that the Breitbart editor who ordered staffers to stop defending Fields had reached out to the Trump campaign about speechwriting, which may begin to explain the deep web of influences that has led the company to throw their own staffer under the bus in a bout of agonizing self-immolation.
— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) March 13, 2016
Journalist Carl Bernstein argued on CNN that Trump is responsible for birthing a new form of American fascism, comparing him unfavorably to George Wallace. The New Yorker wrote that the divisive rally in Chicago is just the beginning, and Trump's reckless inflammatory speech will only provoke more such protests, which in turn will spark even angrier responses from supporters, and so forth.
And if you want to know just how badly this is all wearing on Trump's opponents, just look at Rubio, who seems one insult away from endorsing Hillary Clinton:
The most human moment of this campaign I've seen is Rubio this a.m. on whether he'd support Trump as the nominee pic.twitter.com/YzziiLoh0U
— Hunter Schwarz (@hunterschwarz) March 13, 2016