The violence at Donald Trump’s campaign rallies is escalating so much “someone could get killed," a Republican Party strategist has predicted.
The presidential hopeful's rallies have become increasingly marked by reports of acts of violence in recent weeks.
The most high-profile incident involve that of his own camapign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who was charged with the simple battery of former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields during a press conference at his country club in Jupiter, Florida.
Republican Party strategist Frank Luntz said the level of violence at the events had been increasing in recent weeks.
“People are going to get very badly hurt if this isn’t stopped and I’m actually afraid that someone could get killed between now and election day.
“The tempers are so high, the anger is so deep and it’s a sense of betrayal. And if you’re a Donald Trump supporter, this doesn’t bother you at all because nothing bothers you about this candidate or campaign,” he added.
Mr Luntz made his comments after Mr Trump, the frontrunner in the race to become the presidential candidate for the Republican Party, decided to stand by his campaign manager.
Video footage, released by police, appears to show Lewandowski grabbing Ms Fields as she tries to ask Mr Trump a question on 8 March.
Mr Trump said: “I’m not going to let a person’s life be destroyed. No jury, in my opinion, would convict a man and destroy a man’s life over what you witnessed.”
According to the Trump campaign, Lewandowski will plead not guilty and “is completely confident that he will be exonerated”.
The incident was highly criticised by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton: “What Donald Trump has been doing over these last months is inciting violent behaviour, aggressive behaviour that I think is very dangerous and has resulted in attacks on people at his events including this charge that has now been brought against his campaign manager.”
Donald Trump's most controversial quotes
Donald Trump's most controversial quotes
1/14 On Isis:
"Some of the candidates, they went in and didn’t know the air conditioner didn’t work and sweated like dogs, and they didn’t know the room was too big because they didn’t have anybody there. How are they going to beat ISIS?"
2/14 On immigration:
"I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me —and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words."
3/14 On Free Trade:
"Free trade is terrible. Free trade can be wonderful if you have smart people. But we have stupid people."
PAUL J. RICHARDS | AFP | Getty Images
4/14 On Mexicans:
"When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists."
5/14 On China:
"I just sold an apartment for $15 million to somebody from China. Am I supposed to dislike them?... I love China. The biggest bank in the world is from China. You know where their United States headquarters is located? In this building, in Trump Tower."
6/14 On work:
"If you're interested in 'balancing' work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them. Instead make your work more pleasurable."
7/14 On success:
"What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate."
8/14 On life:
"Everything in life is luck."
9/14 On ambition:
"You have to think anyway, so why not think big?"
10/14 On his opponents:
"Bush is totally in favour of Common Core. I don't see how he can possibly get the nomination. He's weak on immigration. He's in favour of Common Core. How the hell can you vote for this guy? You just can't do it."
11/14 On Obamacare:
"You have to be hit by a tractor, literally, a tractor, to use it, because the deductibles are so high. It's virtually useless. And remember the $5 billion web site?... I have so many web sites, I have them all over the place. I hire people, they do a web site. It costs me $3."
12/14 On Barack Obama:
"Obama is going to be out playing golf. He might be on one of my courses. I would invite him. I have the best courses in the world. I have one right next to the White House."
13/14 On himself:
"Love him or hate him, Trump is a man who is certain about what he wants and sets out to get it, no holds barred. Women find his power almost as much of a turn-on as his money."
14/14 On America:
"The American Dream is dead. But if I get elected president I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before and we will make America great again."
Mr Luntz said such a situation was completely unprecedented.
“In modern political times, no campaign manager has ever been arrested for battery… This is unprecedented in American politics.”
“You see something you have never expected before. But this is from a campaign that over the last 96 hours has been arguing over which spouse of a presidential candidate is more attractive, has committed a crime, is more outside the mainstream. Who would have thought we’d be battling over violence and spouses in what is the most important presidential campaign of our lifetime.”
Mr Luntz added: “America used to be the world’s policeman, now we’ve become the world’s entertainment.”
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