WH Says Trump Never Encouraged Violence. Let’s Check The Tape.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally, Friday, May 27, 2016, in Fresno, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Chris Carlson/AP

Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday committed a whopper so obviously untrue that it begged correction.

Asking about President Donald Trump’s Twitter attack against MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, CBS’ Major Garrett pressed Sanders on whether she had any reaction to the sentiment expressed by some members of Congress, in light of the recent shooting at the Republican congressional baseball team, “that conversations like this create an atmosphere that is either dangerous or one we need to avoid?”

“The President in no way, form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence of anything, quite the contrary,” Sanders responded. “He was simply pushing back and defending himself.”

As the New York Times’ Glenn Thrush noted, reporters in the room immediately protested the claim:

Trump’s history of calling for violence is well-known, despite his claims to the contrary. In March 2016, the Times helpfully compiled his urging of violence against protestors at his rallies.

11/22/2015: “Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.”

2/1/2016: “So if you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. Just knock the hell — I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise.”

2/22/2016: “We’re not allowed to punch back anymore. I love the old days. You know what they used to do to guys like that? When they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks. […] “I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell you.”

3/4/2016: “Get him out. Try not to hurt him. If you do, I’ll defend you in court, don’t worry about it.”

3/9/2016: “In the good old days, this doesn’t happen, because they used to treat them very, very rough. And when they protested once, they would not do it again so easily.”

3/11/2016: “Part of the problem, and part of the reason it takes so long [to take protesters out of rallies], is nobody wants to hurt each other any more, right?”

One instance resulted in a lawsuit against Trump: On March 1, 2016, the then-candidate urged the crowd at a rally in Louisville, Kentucky to “get ‘em out of here,” referring to protesters, who were subsequently shoved and punched. A federal judge allowed a lawsuit against the alleged attackers to proceed in April, saying in part that Trump “at least implicitly encouraged the use of violence or lawless action.”

White nationalist Matthew Heimbach, one of the alleged attackers, subsequently sued Trump, arguing that he acted “pursuant to the directives and requests of Donald J. Trump and Donald J. Trump for President” and that “[a]ny liability must be shifted to one or both of them.”

On August 9, Trump warned a rally crowd that Hillary Clinton would pursue limiting the Second Amendment if elected president. “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,’ he said, adding: “Although the Second Amendment people – maybe there is, I don’t know.”