At last night’s Republican debate, Jake Tapper asked this of Donald Trump:
Mr. Trump, I want to start with you in this block. Earlier today, a man was arrested and charged with assault after sucker- punching a protester in the face at your rally in Fayettville, North Carolina. This is hardly the first incident of violence breaking out at one of your rallies.
Today, Hillary Clinton, your potential general election opponent, clearly indicated she sees this as an issue for the campaign. She said, quote, “this kind of behavior is repugnant. We set the tone for our campaigns, we should encourage respect, not violence.” Do you believe that you’ve done anything to create a tone where this kind of violence would be encouraged?
As you would expect, the Donald responded in true George Wallace fashion with a bunch of gibberish about how awesome the police are. Clearly, Trump must be stopped! In contrast, consider the response of Ted Cruz:
Listen, I think for every one of us, we need to show respect to the people. We need to remember who it is we’re working for. You know, we’ve seen for seven years a president who believes he’s above the law, who behaves like an emperor, who it is all about him and he forgot that he’s working for the American people.
And let me — let me ask, turn the camera our here. How many of y’all feel disrespected by Washington?
Washington isn’t listening to the people. And that’s the frustration that is boiling over. And we need to nominate and elects a president who remembers, he works for the people. You know, at Donald’s rallies recently, he’s taken to asking people in the crowd to raise their hand and pledge their support to him.
Now, I got to say to me, I think that’s exactly backwards. This is a job interview. We are here pledging our support to you, not the other way around.
And the only hand raising I’m interested in doing is on January 20, 2017 raising my hand with my left hand on the bible and pledging to the American people to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of United States.
“Senator Cruz, are you concerned about people beating up protesters at Donald Trump’s rallies?” “I am outraged that Barack Obama has taken the unprecedented action of instructing executive branch officials to do things. It’s great to be here tonight in Miami. We play for you. Are you ready to rock?”
After Trump was given the opportunity to dodge the issue by calling the press liars, we turn to the moderate, respectable candidate John Kasich:
Well, I worry about the violence at a rally period. I mean, it’s — you know, elections are important but the unity of this country really matters.
Jake, here’s what I think is happening. There are people out there who are worried about their jobs. They’re worried that somebody is going to come in and tell them they’re out of work and they’re 54 years old and they don’t know where they’re going to get another job, a man and a woman.
Maybe they’re worried about a trade deal. They’re worried about the fact that their wages haven’t gone up. They’re worried that their kids went to college and the promise was, you go to college, you get a job, things are going to be great.
They went to college, they rang up debt and they’re still living in their parents’ basement. People are uptight. Our seniors are worried they’re going to lose their Social Security. There’s two ways to treat it.
You can either prey on that and be negative about it, or you tell people that these things can be fixed. If we’re Americans rather than Republicans and Democrats, we get together, we can solve all of these problems.
We can provide financial security, we can drive the wages up, we can get kids jobs with a more robust economy.
And you know what? They want to help solve these problems right where they live and I’ll give them the power to do it.
“Allow me ignore this question with the parts of my stump speech with the least content.”
What about Marco Rubio? His political career is on the line. Maybe he could condemn violence against protestors?
I do. A couple of points. The first is, I’m concerned about violence in general in this society. And by the way, the first people that are facing that violence are our law enforcement officers. And they deserve our respect and they deserve our thanks for everything they do for us.
On the issue of anger. Yes, people are angry. Of course they’re angry. Every institution in America has been failing us for the better part of 20 years or 30 years. But leadership is not about using the anger, leadership is about using the anger to motivate us, not to define us. But to motivate us to take action. Being here in Miami is special. My grandfather lived with us most of his life while I was growing up. And he would sit on the porch of our home and tell me all kinds of stories and things I learned about history.
My grandfather was born in 1899 before there were airplanes in the sky. One night in the summer of 1969, he watched a man set foot on the moon.
You know what he said when he saw that? He said Americans can do anything. Americans can do anything. There is no problem before us we cannot solve and we can solve it if we come together in a serious way, in this generation.
“The real victims here are the police. They can’t bust heads like we used to. One trick is to tell ’em stories that don’t go anywhere – like the time I caught the ferry over to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe, so, I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on ’em. “Give me five bees for a quarter,” you’d say.
Now where were we? Oh yeah: the important thing was I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn’t have white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones…”
So, for the record, four candidates asked about violence against protesters, zero condemnations.