Bernie Sanders told NBC News’ Chuck Todd on Monday that Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is enticing supporters to commit acts of violence by offering to pay their legal fees.
“It's more than a permission slip. It's an enticement,” Sanders said in a town hall airing on MSNBC. “It's saying, ‘You can beat up people. That's what this campaign is about, and don't worry about it. I'll pay the legal fees. It's a good thing to do.’”
Trump said he is looking into paying the legal fees of a supporter who was arrested last week after punching a protester at a North Carolina rally. Trump said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday that the man “got carried away” but “maybe doesn't like seeing what’s happening to the country.”
Trump has been blaming protesters who disrupt his campaign events for the skirmishes, calling them “thugs” and “bad” people. He has also said they were Sanders’ supporters.
Sanders denied having any connection to protesters, saying Monday that his campaign did not direct the activists who demonstrated at Trump’s rallies.
Sanders also called Trump a “pathological liar” adding that it’s “very difficult dealing with some guy who lies all the time.”
Trump’s overall rating by PolitiFact is that 77 percent of his statements are either mostly false or completely false.
Sanders participated in the town hall one day before Ohio’s primary election. Ohio is one of five states to vote in pivotal contests Tuesday taking place in North Carolina, Illinois, Florida, Missouri and the Buckeye State.
Sanders, who won neighboring Michigan last week, criticized Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton for supporting “virtually all of these trade agreements, which have turned out to be an unmitigated disaster for working class people in this country.”
When asked how soon he would get rid of coal in a state that is one of the top coal mining states in the country, Sanders said, “as soon as we can,” adding that a focus must be placed on renewable energy.
The Vermont senator, who has obtained 572 delegates to Clinton’s 1,198 delegates, said that if he wins the nomination he would alter the primary election system to diminish the role of superdelegates. The delegate race between Sanders and Clinton is much closer without super delegates: 549 to 766, according to NBC News' count.
Continuously tapping into campaign finance, a central issue in his campaign, Sanders said he would “try to move toward public funding of elections.”
He said he wants political candidates on both sides of the aisle to “not have to beg wealthy people for campaign contributions.”
“I think anyone who objectively looks at politics in America understand that a handful of billionaire families have inordinate power over our political life, as well as our economic,” he said.
Sanders also insisted that his campaign is part of a movement, but acknowledged that turnout in most states has not broken records.
“When you talk about that, you’re comparing us to 2008 and Barack Obama, all right? Barack Obama ran a campaign that was unbelievable. It was one of the great campaigns in American history,” he said. “If you only wanna compare us to 2008, which was the exception, OK But in fact, the turnouts have been extraordinary in this campaign, and I’m proud of them.”