Trump: 'We Have Two Standards in This Country...The Press Is Extremely Dishonest'

By Susan Jones | March 14, 2016 | 7:54am EDT
The Secret Service and the Cleveland Police keep a close watch as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally Saturday, March 12, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

( - Republican Donald Trump says the people who are protesting at his rallies -- some carrying Bernie Sanders signs -- aren't protesters at all: "They're disrupters," he told CBS's "Face the Nation" with John Dickerson. "They're professional disrupters in some cases."

And if disrupters carrying Trump signs were sent to Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton rallies, imagine the fallout, Trump said:

"It's a whole different standard when it comes to a Republican conservative vs. a liberal. If people went to their rallies and disrupted their rallies like my rallies are disrupted, the press would stick up for them and would make all sorts of excuses about how terrible it is. So, we have two standards in this country. It's very unfortunate. The press is extremely dishonest."

Trump has accused the Bernie Sanders campaign of sending "disrupters" to Trump rallies, something Sanders angrily denied.

In a series of interviews on the Sunday shows, Trump said of all the huge crowds he attracts, "You haven't seen one person even injured at one of our rallies."

But host John Dickerson contradicted Trump, pointing to a video that shows an elderly Trump supporter punching a protester who was being escorted out of a Trump rally in North Carolina last week.

"So there was somebody hurt. And he wasn't doing any damage when he was walking out. He was cold-cocked," Dickerson said. "You had suggested in one of your rallies that you would pay for the legal fees. Will you pay for the legal fees for that gentleman?"

"Well, I'm going to review it," Trump responded. "And I understand. And I don't condone violence. And I don't condone what happened to him and what he did, because he got carried away and it's very unfortunate.

"But this kid was walking out. And I understand he had a certain finger up in the air as he's walking out. And this man became very angry. And you know what? Again, I don't condone violence, but the kid shouldn't have had the finger up in the air either, OK, if that's what he did. So, I'm going to take a look at the tape, and I'll let you know."

So it's OK to "clock" someone because of a gesture? Dickerson asked.

"Well, I think that's a terrible gesture, if you want to know the truth," Trump said. "We can say, oh, it doesn't matter, but I think it's a terrible gesture."

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Trump said "it's a shame" that the protester was elbowed in the face. "And I feel badly for everybody concerned. And we don't condone violence."

Moderator Chris Wallace played video clips of Trump saying he'd like to punch a protester in the face and telling police to "just throw them the hell out of here."

"That sure sounds like condoning violence," Wallace said.

Trump said the comments were taken out of context.

"Well, I'll tell you what...I was told by Secret Service that there were two people in the audience, they couldn't find them, they didn't know where they were, but they had tomatoes and they were going chuck them at me. And maybe they had good arms, OK? And, you know, being hit in the face by a tomato is not exactly so good.

"So, before I saw them, in my speech, I said, folks, you have two people with tomatoes. If you see 'em, do whatever you have to do to 'em, I don't care. And you know what? I think I'm totally within my rights to say that.

"But everything I say -- in fact, if you play 99 percent of the clips, I'm always saying, don't hurt 'em, take it easy. Don't hurt 'em.

"And I'm saying that to the police who are really mistreated in this country, by the way. They're not appreciated for the great job they do. But, usually, it's the police, it's not my people, it's the police in the various municipalities that I go to. Honestly, they take -- they really take it easy (on protesters)."

Trump repeated that of all the rallies he's had over the months, no one's been hurt (or at least hospitalized). "And I'm sitting here listening to you tell me like, oh, like everybody's being maimed. It's not that way. And I have often said, do not hurt him. You've heard me say that. You don't want to play those clips."

Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," Trump was asked by host Chuck Todd if he accepts responsibility for creating a hostile atmosphere on the campaign trail.

"I don't accept responsibility. I do not condone violence in any shape," Trump responded. Trump noted that in one of the cases raised by Todd, "[W]e had somebody that was punching and vicious and gone crazy, a disrupter...And he went absolutely wild, punching.

"And frankly, when they punch, it's OK. When my people punch back because they have to out of self-defense, everybody says, oh, isn't that terrible.

"The fact is that we have very peaceful rallies. I've had many, many rallies -- I have 25,000-30,000 people coming to rallies. And out of that, we have very, very little problem. We haven't had a real injury or anything."

Trump said he canceled his appearance in Chicago on Friday "because who needs the problems, who needs people getting hurt? I didn't want that."

At a campaign stop on Saturday, Trump said "the only way we're going to stop this craziness is if we press charges" against protesters, even if it ruins their lives.

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