Yet another Super Tuesday is coming tomorrow and the big question is whether Donald Trump’s handling of hecklers is hurting him or helping him.
Trump’s hecklers now show up at almost every stop. They showed up in Bloomington Illinois; they showed up in Kansas City.
I’m sure you’ve seen the videos. There was even a little blood after supporters and protesters clashed in Chicago.
But Mr. Trump says it’s certainly not his fault.
Yesterday he said the Secret Service warned him before one rally that some people had shown up with tomatoes.
“So, before I started my speech, I said, ‘Folks, you have two people with tomatoes. If you see ’em, do whatever you have to do to ’em, I don’t care.’ And you know what? I think I’m totally within my rights to say that,” Trump explained.
And on NBC’s Meet The Press Trump said he’s making good on his promise to pay the legal bills of supporters who go after hecklers – including the 78-year-old supporter at a North Carolina rally last Wednesday who sucker-punched a demonstrator.
And now he’s taken it one step further by noting that some of the hecklers carry Bernie Sanders signs, and suggesting maybe Sanders is the reason for all the trouble.
“These other people – by the way, some represented Bernie, our communist friend,” Trump said.
On CBS News Face The Nation, Bernie Sanders subtly hinted that perhaps Mr Trump might wish to reconsider that remark.
“He calls me a communist. That’s a lie,” Sanders said. “To suggest that our campaign is telling people to disrupt his campaign is a lie. We don’t.”
Now I know there may be children listening who hear that word and wonder whether adults get punished for lying the way children do. You can tell them that with presidential candidates we in the media try to avoid the word lie.
“Trump also habitually exaggerates the size of his crowds and the reviews of his debate performances,” one reporter explained. “But his loose association with the truth has not slowed him down yet.”
We see it as more like falsiness. And as long as the voters seem OK with it, falsiness is just good politics.