Donald Trump: I Do Not 'Condone' Violence at My Campaign Events

Trump made the comment at Thursday night's GOP debate.

March 10, 2016, 11:35 PM

— -- At tonight's GOP debate, Donald Trump was asked about violence at his recent campaign events, and if he had done anything to encourage it. His response? “I hope not.”

The Republican presidential candidate was asked specifically about a man who was arrested Thursday and charged with assault, after sucker-punching a protester at a Trump rally Wednesday in North Carolina.

"We have 25,000, 30,000 people, they come with tremendous love and passion for the country," Trump said, when asked about the aforementioned violence. "You're mentioning one case I haven't seen -- I have heard about it -- which I don't like. When [Trump supporters] see what's going on in this country, they have anger that's unbelievable.”

Trump continued, blaming that anger on his supporters’ “love” of country.

“It's a beautiful thing in many respects,” Trump told CNN's Jake Tapper, the debate's moderator. “But I certainly do not condone that at all, Jake.”

Tapper then asked Trump about his apparent encouragement of violence, like when he promised to “pay for the legal fees” of a violent supporter or when he said of an anti-Trump protester, “I'd like to punch him in the face."

Trump blamed rally violence on “bad dudes” that "have done bad things.”

Ted Cruz was asked if he was “concerned” that these altercations could “potentially hurt the Republican party for the general election.”

Cruz answered, “We need to show respect to the people." He then slammed Trump for asking his rally-goers to pledge their support to him.

“I got to say: To me, I think that's exactly backwards,” Cruz said. "This is a job interview. We are here pledging our support to you, not the other way around. The only hand-raising I'm interested in doing is on January 20, 2017, raising my hand with the left hand on the bible, pledging to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of United States.”

Trump blamed the “total dishonesty of the press” for allegedly misreporting the pledge, where crowds of thousands put up their right hand to pledge their support to the GOP frontrunner.

“Everyone's laughing, we're all having a good time," Trump said. "That's why I have much bigger crowds than Ted, because we have a good time at mine."

Tapper also asked GOP candidate John Kasich if the violence at Trump rallies worries him. “I worry about rally violence period," Kasich said.

The Ohio governor added, “Elections are important, but the unity of this country really matters."

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