Donald Trump seemed to walk back his promise to pay the legal fees of supporters who are charged for violence at his rallies when pressed on the subject by ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday.
“By paying those (legal) fees, wouldn’t you be rewarding and encouraging violence?” asked host George Stephanopoulos.
“No, no I didn’t say that. I haven’t looked at it yet, and nobody’s asked me to pay for fees, and somebody asked me a question and I haven’t even seen it, so I never said I was going to pay for fees,” the Republican front-runner said, at first denying what he has said both during a campaign rally and on Sunday during an interview.
At a rally in February, Trump told his supporters about protesters: “Knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. OK? Just knock the hell – I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise.”
And in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” this Sunday, Trump said he had directed his staff to “look into” paying the legal fees of a supporter who sucker punched a protester at a rally last Wednesday in North Carolina.
“I’ve actually instructed my people to look into it, yes,” Trump replied when asked about paying the fees.
On Tuesday, questioned again if he was “open to that,” and if paying the fees meant rewarding violence, Trump said, “Well maybe so, and maybe that’s why I wouldn’t do it. I don’t condone violence at all, and you know I looked and I watched and I’m going to make a decision.”
“I certainly don’t condone violence and maybe you’re right and maybe that’s why I wouldn’t do it,” he said.