Donald Trump threatens protestor: "I'd like to punch him in the face"

Poised to win his third straight election, cementing his frontrunner status, Trump shows no signs of growing up

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published February 23, 2016 1:44PM (EST)

Donald and Melania Trump (Reuters)
Donald and Melania Trump (Reuters)

On the eve of the Nevada caucuses, where Donald Trump is poised to win his third election, the Republican presidential frontrunner openly threatened to punch a protestor at one of his rowdy rallies.

According to the New York Times, Trump was referring to the third protestor to interrupt Trump's especially ramped up stump speech in Las Vegas Monday night.

"Here's a guy, throwing punches, nasty as hell, screaming at everything else, when we're talking," Trump claimed, pointing out the man. “The guards are being very gentle with him,” Trump said. “I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell you that.”

But according to Politico, multiple security guards working Trump's rally said the protestor did no such thing and Trump "was just over-exaggerating."

Revving up the crowd, Trump went on to complain that the protestor was dragged out of the rally too gently. "Look, see he's smiling. See he's having a good time," Trump said of the protester. "You know what I hate? There's a guy, totally disruptive, throwing punches, we're not allowed to punch back anymore. I love the old days. You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They'd be carried out on a stretcher, folks."

Of course, violence at Trump rallies instigated by the loud-mouth former reality TV star himself is nothing new. Last fall, Trump told Fox News that a Black Lives Matter protestor who had been beaten by Trump rally attendees for daring to heckle the Donald "should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing."

Even though Trump has a commanding 45 percent lead in the latest polls, compared to 19 percent for Marco Rubio and 17 percent for Ted Cruz, the blustery billionaire shows no signs of simmering down his amped up rhetoric on the campaign trail.

The Times reports that while addressing another protester during Monday night's rally, Trump repeatedly said, “Get him the hell out,” as the rowdy crowd booed his forced exit.

The man was holding a sign that read, “Veterans to Trump: End Hate Speech Against Muslims”:

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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