The big takeaway from Donald Trump’s press conference tonight was his push for Marco Rubio to get out of the race. But the most interesting part of the night was when CNN’s Jim Acosta asked him if was going to take responsibility for or do something about the recurrent outbreaks of (so far low-level) violence at his rallies.
It got kind of a hairy few a few moments. And I thought it was 50-50 whether Trump would have security toss Acosta from the event or maybe have one of the guys from Duck Dynasty knock him around a bit. But I don’t think either ended up happening.
It was a classic Trump answer, with several digressions and laugh lines – along with a few side points that were completely incomprehensible (see the reference to ten years ago). My favorite part was when he seemed to suggest that on a percentage basis barely anyone gets beaten up at his events. But I wanted to quote the whole exchange at length. So here it is after the jump …
ACOSTA: Rallies, don’t you have some responsibility to keep the peace at these rallies?
TRUMP: Well, I have nothing to do with it. When you have 25,000 people in a building — you know, today we had to send away so many thousands of people, we couldn’t get them in. If you have that many people, if you have four or five people or ten people stand up out of 22,000 that are in this building that I’m speaking to, a very great entertainer said, Donald, you’re the biggest draw in the world without a guitar, which is sort of an interesting —
ACOSTA: But sir, can I ask a follow-up?
TRUMP: I won’t tell you that was great Elton John. I will not tell you that. But somebody did make that statement. When you have that many people — you understand — in a room, and you’ll have a couple of, not skirmishes, just a couple of protests. Really not skirmishes. And we treat them very gently. You know, ten years ago, they would have been treated differently, not by me, but by — that’s the way life is. We treat them very, very gently. And yeah, we had a few protesters today, but very few. I mean, if a look at it as a percentage, we had what, 0.01% of the people in the room.
ACOSTA: You don’t think it’s something that ctinues to happen at your events?
TRUMP: No, look, I watched Bernie sanders have a protest. He was up at the microphone and two young ladies came up and took the microphone away from him. That will never happen with me. He walked meekly to the back of the room. And I said, isn’t that pathetic? Isn’t that sad?