GOP frontrunner Donald Trump challenges ABC's George Stephanopoulos' characterization that his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has ever made inappropriate contact with the press and pushes back on the claim that he ever said he wanted his supporters to "riot" if he doesn't win.
Stephanopoulos presses him repeatedly: "Are you saying it's okay for them to riot?"
"Did you go too far there?"
"Will you tell your supporters not to riot if you lose the convention fair and square?"
STEPHANOPOULOS: But what about this violence, Mr. Trump?
TRUMP: We had 6,000 or 7,000 people, at least. We had 2,000 people outside. They wouldn't allow them in. These people are very disruptive. People, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But does that excuse...
TRUMP: These are not innocent lambs.
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- punching and kicking a protester?
TRUMP: Well, you know, he was wearing -- he or his partner was wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit. This happened to be an African-American man who was very -- a person at the rally, who was very, very incensed at the fact that somebody, a protester, would be wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit.
TRUMP: Frankly, that was a, you know, it was a tough thing to watch. And I watched that.
But why would a protester walk into a room with a Ku Klux Klan outfit on?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, it looked like he was wearing an American flag right there.
But does that justify violence, punching and kicking?
TRUMP: If you would have seen him just before he went up the stairs, him and his partner were wearing -- one of them was wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're not going to condemn the protester who kicked and punched that person?
TRUMP: We don't condone violence and I say it. And we have very little violence, very, very little violence at the rallies. Uh, as I said, in Phoenix, we had 21,000 people. We had -- we didn't even have anybody stand up and -- and try and disrupt, you know, the disrupters. And they're really stopping our First Amendment rights. If you think about it, George, they block -- they blocked a road, they put their cars in front of a road. We had thousands and thousands of people wanting to come. They were delayed for an hour because of these protesters.
And, you know, at what point do people blame the protesters?
These are people that are for-profit agitators...
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're blaming the protesters, not the person who actually punched and kicked the protester?
TRUMP: No, I'm -- I'm saying this. These are professional agitators and I think that somebody should say that when a road is blocked going into the event so that people have to wait sometimes hours to get in, I think that's very fair and there should be blame there, too.
When signs are put up, lifted up with tremendous profanity on them, I mean the worst profanity, and you have television cameras all over the place and people see these signs, I think maybe those people have some blame and should suffer some blame, also.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, you also -- we also have seen that video there of your campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who does appear in that video to grab the collar of the protester. Also your private security... You appear to be much more upset by the protesters than by the violent response to those protesters.
TRUMP: I am very, uh, I wouldn't use the word upset. I think it's very unfair that these really, in many cases, professional, in many cases, sick, protesters can put cars in a road blocking thousands of -- of great Americans from coming to a speech and nobody says anything about that.
But they'll say something about whatever. I -- I will tell you, George...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Kicking and punching a protester.
TRUMP: -- is a very unfair -- it's a very -- let me just tell you, it's a very unfair double standard.
Why don't you mention the fact that people were delayed for an hour to get into an arena and the only road going there that they were delayed for an hour because people were blocking the road.
And why don't you say, in Tucson, where the people were blocking the main entrance into the arena?
It's very unfair.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We showed that blocking right at the top of the broadcast.
But let me -- let me move on, because this comes on the heels of you saying this week there could be riots, uh, in Cleveland, if you entered the Republican Caucus with more delegates than anyone else but didn't end up with the nomination. John Kasich called that outrageous. Speaker Paul Ryan has called you out on it, as well.
Did you go too far there?
And if you don't have the 1,237 delegates going into Cleveland, why should you be guaranteed the nomination?
TRUMP: Well, I think if I'm a few short and I have, you know, 1,200 or if I have 1,100 and somebody else is at 300 or 400 or 500, which is very likely going to be the case, uh, and if I'm a little bit short -- and one of the reasons was we had so many candidates. I mean we started off with 17 candidates. And it came down to, you know, finally, it's down to three, frankly. But, you know, there are so many candidates, so it's very hard to get over that number. It's very unfair, in a way. But because of the fact that there's so many candidates and so many candidates are grabbing delegates. Now, here's what I say, because -- and now they're out. And now they're out. So I think I will get over that number. I think I may get over that number fairly easily. Arizona was unbelievable yesterday. Utah, frankly, was unbelievable the day before. I think we will get over that number. There's tremendous spirit about make America great again. I mean that's the whole thing. We're going to make America great again...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But if you don't... It's OK for them to riot?
TRUMP: I don't know what's going to happen. But I will say this, you're going to have a lot of very unhappy people. And I think, frankly, for the Republicans to disenfranchise all those people because if that happens, they're not voting and the Republicans lose. If they -- if the Republicans embraced these great people that are showing up, the Republicans are going to have a massive victory. It's not going to be a Mitt Romney slaughter, because he was such a bad candidate. The Republicans are going to have a massive victory in November. I can tell you that, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But will you tell your -- will you tell your supporters not to riot if you lose the convention fair and square?
TRUMP: Well, I would certainly tell them that, but, you know, look, these people are -- are fervent. They are really -- they want to see positive things happen for our country. And I would certainly say that. I don't want to see riots. I don't want to see problems.
But, you know, you have -- you have millions of people who we're talking about, George, millions of additional people have gone. You know, I've gotten more than two million votes more than anybody else, two million votes, more than anybody else. And these are millions of -- and that's why I'm leading by so much... you have 21 or 22 states.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You have conservatives, uh, talking about the possibility of a third party challenge, if indeed, you do get the nomination in Cleveland, talking about recruiting someone like Senator Tom Coburn. How worried are you that that would cost the election? And have you done anything to try to head that off?
TRUMP: Well, if that -- now, look, if they're going to do that, they're going to do that. But then you might as well just hand the election to Hillary Clinton or whoever runs, because frankly, uh, the Republicans wouldn't even have 1 percent of a chance of winning if that's the case. So if they're going to be stupid and if they're going to do that instead of embracing these millions of people that are coming in to vote, then they're going to have to do that.
And I'll tell you what that's going to mean, more than any other thing. It's going to mean four or five justices, super liberal, placed on the Supreme Court. Our country will never, ever be the same.