CNN questions Trump about campaign rally violence during GOP debate

Republican presidential candidates, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, right, stand together before the start of the Republican presidential debate sponsored by CNN, Salem Media Group and the Washington Times at the University of Miami, Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Coral Gables, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

CNN debate moderators asked Donald Trump to address the violence that reportedly occurred at one of his recent campaign events, when a supporter punched a protester who was being removed from the venue.

Tapper quoted Hillary Clinton who has "indicated," she sees the amount of violence at rallies "as an issue." Calling the behavior "repugnant," Clinton tweeted that "we set the tone for our campaignswe should encourage respect, not violence."

Clinton's comments came after a white Trump supporter was caught on video punching a black protester Wednesday evening in North Carolina.

RELATED LINK: VIDEO: Trump supporter punches protester at rally, arrested for assault

Asked if he was contributing to the violent tone of his events Trump replied: "I truly hope not."

Trump noted the number of people who attend his rallies adding that the people in attendance "come with tremendous passion and love for the country."

Noting that he has heard about the incident Tapper referenced, but not seen it Trump said he did not like it.

But, Trump said when his supporters "see what's going on in this country they have anger that's unbelievable."

"They don't like seeing bad trade deals, they don't like seeing higher taxes, they don't like seeing a loss of their jobs..." Trump explained.

"I see it, there is some anger, there's also great love for the country," Trump said adding that "it's a beautiful thing in many respects."

"But I certainly do not condone that at all, Jake."

Tapper countered Trump's answer by reading quotes from Trump in which he suggested someone "knock the crap," out of one protester or offered to pay the legal fees if someone beat up another.

"We have some protesters who are bad dudes," Trump countered explaining the damage some people do. Trump said that most often the authorities taking action a "municipal police," quickly pivoting to how we must "pay our respects to the police."

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off