Trump Says Any Supporters Practicing Bigotry Need to ‘Stop It’

  • Protests continue in several cities after Republican’s win
  • Booker, Ryan back the First Amendment right to free speech

Donald Trump Responds to Protesters With Tweets

President-elect Donald Trump said he hadn’t heard of instances of intimidation of Latinos, Muslims and other groups by his supporters since the Nov. 8 election, was “saddened” to learn of them, and urged his fans to “stop it.”

“I am very surprised to hear that -- I hate to hear that,” Trump said in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” conducted on Friday at Trump Tower in New York and broadcast on Sunday. “I would say don’t do it, that’s terrible, because I’m going to bring this country together.”

“I will say right to the cameras: Stop it,” Trump added.

Earlier, two of the Republican’s closest advisers dismissed the thousands of people protesting his victory as “professional” rabble-rousers, and called on President Barack Obama and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to intervene.

“I’m not sure these are even Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama supporters,” former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” citing an incident where people were “banging on my car.” “These people are, you know, kind of like professional protesters more.”

‘Ask for Calm’

Senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said on “Fox News Sunday” that Obama, Clinton, Senator Bernie Sanders and others should “come forward and ask for calm and ask for a peaceful transition, and ask their supporters which are masquerading as protesters now -- many of them professional and paid by the way, I’m sure -- ask them to give this man a chance so that this country can flourish.”

Giuliani, said to be a candidate for attorney general in Trump’s administration, and Conway didn’t offer evidence that any protesters are paid professionals.

Thousands of protesters converged in New York again Sunday, with the crowd in front of the Trump International Hotel by Columbus Circle wrapped around the Maine Monument along Central Park South. The protesters, chanting slogans including “Donald Trump, go away, racist, sexist, anti-gay,” marched peacefully to Trump Tower, escorted by dozens of police on motorcycles and on foot. Several groups of immigrants’ rights supporters chanted in Spanish, holding signs saying “keep families together.”

Since the election people marched in more than a dozen large and small cities across the country, including Iowa City, Iowa, and Worcester, Massachusetts, as well as New York and Los Angeles.

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The protests were mostly peaceful. Two police officers were “slightly injured” in Indianapolis, the Associated Press reported, and two men were arrested and charged early Saturday in Portland, Oregon, during the fourth night of demonstrations there, after a shooting that injured a protester. The Oregonian newspaper reported that the shooting may have been gang-related.

Conway said many protesters aren’t peaceful but are instead “there for nefarious reasons -- they’re booing us, they’re spitting on us, they’re causing all kinds of havoc.”

Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, countered that demonstrators helped deliver equal rights to black Americans. “When you have a president in his campaign who ran saying things that are just contrary to a fact, but literally threatening to use presidential power in a way that erode the rights and privileges and equality of large sections of Americans: God bless the protesters,” Booker said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

First Amendment

At the same time, Booker urged protesters not to turn to “hateful speech” or violate “principles and ideals that are sacred in this country. We need to raise our voices, but we do not need to indulge in hate.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan also struck a more conciliatory note than the Trump advisers. “As long as protests are peaceful, if people want to express themselves that’s what we can do in this country, that’s what the First Amendment is all about,” Ryan said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Giuliani largely skirted a question of whether Trump has a responsibility to address reported incidents in which Trump supporters have been involved in racially-motivated intimidation. “They shouldn’t be doing it either,” Giuliani said of the instigators, before pivoting to say the “major focus” is the people protesting the president-elect.

“The First Amendment says that we can protest and call on our government to address grievances,” Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota, a candidate to head the Democratic National Committee, said on ABC.

— With assistance by Ben Brody, and Susan Decker

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