Donald Trump maintained his attack on Bernie Sanders Sunday after accusing the Vermont senator’s campaign of organizing protests that shut down a Trump rally in Chicago on Friday.
Trump’s charge took an even more controversial turn on Sunday morning, when he said on Twitter, “Be careful Bernie, or my supporters will go to yours!”
Sanders was asked Sunday on CNN about Trump’s tweet.
“We should take Mr. Trump’s words with a grain of salt, because I think as almost everybody knows, this man cannot stop lying about anything … to talk about our organization or our campaign disrupting his meeting is a lie,” Sanders said. “Some of them were supporters of mine, but certainly, absolutely, we had nothing to do, our campaign had nothing to do with disrupting his meeting.”
Sanders continued to say that Trump’s rhetoric has fostered environments that are conducive to violent clashes.
“Even his Republican colleagues make this point. His language, his intonations. When he talks about carrying people out in stretchers. When you see at his rallies, people sucker-punch folks. People kick people when they’re down. This is a man who keeps implying violence, and then you end up getting what you see,” Sanders said. “So I think that he in fact has got to tell his supporters that in the United States of America, you don’t go beating up people. That people have a right to peacefully protest, and I hope that becomes the tone of his campaign.”
Trump took to Twitter on Saturday to blame organized “thugs” who “shut down our First Amendment rights” for the violent clashes that led to his Chicago rally being closed down. Fights broke out between supporters and protesters before Trump even spoke at the event.
Five people were arrested and two officers were injured, according to Chicago police. One of the injured officers was struck by a bottle and received a bloody gash that required stitches, police said.
Violence also ensued at a North Carolina rally earlier in the week. A Trump supporter was charged with assault for punching a protester. Videos show the protester being escorted out by law enforcement when the supporter hit him.
Political figures from both sides of the aisle condemned Trump’s rhetoric and insisted campaigns should bear responsibility for the environments they create.
“I know that everybody in public life gets protested against and sometimes people do need to be removed, but it should be done in an appropriate manner,” Clinton said on MSNBC. “Other people in the audience should not be joining in. Mr. Trump should not be urging people on.”
Sanders also condemned Trump’s rhetoric in a statement released Saturday. “Donald Trump is showing the American people that he is a pathological liar. Obviously, while I appreciate that we had supporters at Trump’s rally in Chicago, our campaign did not organize the protests,” he said. ““What Donald Trump must do now is stop provoking violence.”
Trump dismissed the calls to adjust his tone, calling Clinton and Sanders “phony politicians” on Twitter. He also negated his fellow Republicans’ concerns about violence, saying on CNN that they “are running against me, they are losing big league.”
While Trump told NBC’s Chuck Todd that he does not condone violence at his events, he said that he would not take responsibility for the atmosphere of his rallies. In the interview on “Meet the Press” Sunday, the GOP front-runner said he would even look into paying the legal fees of the man who threw the punch at his rally in North Carolina.
“I have no objection to what I said,” Trump said of his past rhetoric at rallies. “I would say it again.”