Former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson predicted there will be an “escalation” of violent incidents at Donald Trump’s campaign rallies during a Monday interview on NBC’s “Today.”
“I think certainly if the protesters continue with their Alinskyite tactics there is a real possibility of escalation,” Carson said, referring to the lefty community organizer Saul Alinsky. “Because those who are the victims of them have two choices. They can submit to them and just meekly do whatever those protesters want them to do, or they can fight back.”
Carson’s remarks came three days after he endorsed his one-time opponent, and after a weekend that witnessed new levels of hostile confrontation between Trump supporters and protesters. A mass demonstration by anti-Trump protesters shut down a rally in Chicago on Friday, and demonstrators at a Saturday rally in Kansas City, Missouri were pepper-sprayed by police.
Carson’s remarks, which seemed to suggest that the clashes were the fault of left-wing activists, hewed closely to Trump’s own. The Republican frontrunner insisted this weekend that “disruptors” and “thugs” who planned to vote for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) were intentionally wreaking havoc at his campaign events.
Carson dodged when the “Today” hosts repeatedly pressed him as to whether Trump, who once said he’d like to punch a protester in the face, bore responsibility for fostering a hostile environment at his rallies.
“The problem is that there are those who are being taught that if someone disagrees with you, you have the right to interfere with their First Amendment rights, their ability to express themselves, their freedom of speech,” Carson said. “That’s where the emphasis needs to be.”