Donald Trump thanks his "nasty and mean and vicious" supporters, then is amazed they're blamed for violence

The president-elect once insisted that his supporters' violence was caused by paid protesters, but not anymore

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published December 19, 2016 5:40PM (EST)

President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Orlando Amphitheater at the Central Florida Fairgrounds, Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, in Orlando, Fla.  (AP)
President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Orlando Amphitheater at the Central Florida Fairgrounds, Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. (AP)

President-elect Donald Trump praised his supporters for being "vicious" and "violent" during the 2016 presidential election, despite insisting throughout the campaign that allegations of viciousness and violence among his supporters were being caused by paid protesters.

"You people were vicious, violent, screaming, 'Where's the wall? We want the wall!' Screaming, 'Prison! Prison! Lock her up!' I mean, you are going crazy," Trump said during a stop in Orlando, Florida on Friday.

"You were nasty and mean and vicious and you wanted to win, right? But now, now it's much different. Now, you're laid back, you're cool, you're mellow, right? You're basking in the glory of victory," Trump added.

Trump's statement directly contradict his own words and actions from the campaign trail. Despite repeatedly offering to pay the legal fees for Trump supporters who were arrested for punching anti-Trump protesters, the president-elect had also claimed that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were paying protesters to cause the violence that frequently broke out at his campaign rallies. Trump's then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski even tweeted out a fake news story in March claiming that paid protesters were responsible for the disruptions at Trump rallies.

There multiple incidents of violence at Trump's campaign rallies throughout the election. These included but were not limited to a Trump supporter knocking down and kicking a protester in October 2015, a Trump supporter sucker-punching a protester during a rally in March, a different protester being sucker-punched at a different rally later that same month, a Trump supporter getting into a bloody altercation outside a rally in April, both pro-Trump and anti-Trump forces using pepper spray on each other outside a city council meeting in April, and a photographer being hit by a rock during a rally in June.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. His diverse interests are reflected in his interview, including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), media entrepreneur Dan Abrams, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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