Violence at presidential campaign rallies was all the rage – literally – on Sunday morning talk shows. Topping it all was billionaire Donald Trump, on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” saying he may pick up the legal expenses of a man who sucker-punched a protestor at a North Carolina event:
From the transcript:
Host Chuck Todd: I’m just curious, do you plan on paying for the legal fees of this older gentleman in North Carolina who sucker punched the protester?
Trump: Well, I’m not aware. I will say this. I do want to see what that young man was doing. Because he was very taunting. He was very loud, very disruptive. And from what I understand, he was sticking a certain finger up in the air. And that is a terrible thing to do in front of somebody that frankly wants to see America made great again. And so we’ll see. I’m going to take a look at it. But I want to see what that man was doing.
Todd: And that condones a sucker punch, though?
Trump: No, as I told you before, nothing condones. But I want to see. The man got carried away, he was 78 years old, he obviously loves his country, and maybe he doesn’t like seeing what’s happening to the country. I want to see the full tape. But I don’t condone violence.
Todd: So you might pay for his legal fees?
Trump: Well, I’m going to look at it. I’m going to see, you know, what was behind this because it was a strange event. But from what I heard, there was a lot of taunting and a certain finger was placed in the air. Not nice. Again, I don’t condone the violence. I don’t condone what he did. But you know what, not nice for the other side, either.
Todd: So it’s possible you could help him with legal fees, if this man needs it.
Trump: I’ve actually instructed my people to look into it, yes.
The man who rushed the stage Saturday at a Donald Trump rally in Ohio is the the son of Faye DiMassimo, former Cobb County transportation director who left that job in November to become administrator of Atlanta’s infrastructure bond program.
Thomas DiMassimo, 22, was arrested Saturday on misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and inducing panic, according to The Dayton Daily News.
The newspaper reported that Secret Service and other security officers “swarmed Dimassimo as he reached the back of the stage and tried to scramble up, about 8 to 10 feet from where the Republican front-runner was speaking to a large crowd” in a hangar near the airport.
Anne Torres, communications director for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, declined to comment Saturday night on the arrest.
“This inquiry is a personal matter unrelated to Faye’s work with the administration,” she said. “We are not in a position to comment.”