Trump aide: 'Now and then an agitator deserves it'

Story highlights

  • Trump's senior counsel Michael Cohen said the protestor was looking for a fight
  • Cohen said the campaign does not want to see someone attacked, but that's up to the crowd

Washington (CNN)A protester who was roughed up by the crowd at a Donald Trump rally likely deserved his treatment, Trump's top aide said Tuesday.

"Every now and then an agitator deserves it," Trump's senior counsel Michael Cohen said on CNN's "New Day."
Cohen's comments square with Trump's response to the altercation at a weekend campaign event. The mogul said afterward that the demonstrator "maybe should have been roughed up" and that what he was doing was "disgusting."
    The protester was Black Lives Matter activist Mercutio Southall, who said rally attendees who attacked him and called him and two fellow protestors racial slurs. He told CNN that he was "swarmed" by Trump's supporters after he and the others began chanting "Dump the Trump" and "Black Lives Matter." CNN could not verify whether the slurs were used.
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    Birmingham Police Lt. Sean Edwards, the department's public information officer, told CNN that Southall is known to local law enforcement and "is always the agitator."
    Cohen picked up that word in his interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo, saying Southall came to the event with the intent to cause problems.
    "The guy is a professional agitator," Cohen said. "He went there to cause a problem...It's like the guy walking into a bar looking to start a fight."
    Cohen did say that the campaign does not want to see someone attacked, but that's up to the crowd.
    "Nobody wants to see anybody get beaten up, but if a guy goes there with a purpose ... he wants to be an agitator ... you know what, that's between the individual who wants to be an agitator and the people that are there to listen to Mr. Trump," Cohen said.
    The protesters at the Saturday event in Alabama said they were there to protest what they see as racist statements from Trump on the trail.