Trump to CNN: There Could Be Riots at GOP Convention

In an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo Wednesday (March 16), the GOP's dominant front-runner says he thinks there will be riots if he comes into the convention in Cleveland with close to the number of delegates needed and does not get the nomination for president.

Donald Trump made the talk-show rounds by phone this morning -- speaking with MSNBC, NBC and Fox News -- after winning Republican primaries in Florida, Illinois and North Carolina and possibly also Missouri. 

Following big wins in Tuesday's primary that pushed Trump closer to the delegate total he needs but did not provide a knockout blow given Gov. John Kasich's win in Ohio, Cuomo asked Trump what would happen if he came to the convention short of the requisite number of delegates.

Trump said that if he were, say, 20 votes or 100 votes short, and did not get the nomination: "I think you'd have riots. ... I am representing many millions of people... If you disenfranchise those people and say, 'I'm sorry, you're a hundred votes short,' even though the next one is 500 votes short, I think you would have problems like you've never seen before. I think bad things would happen. I really believe that," according to a CNN transcript.

Trump said he wouldn't lead those riots, "but I think bad things would happen."

Trump has been criticized for the violence at his rallies and his inflammatory rhetoric. But the candidate said in the interview that has been overblown.

"[S]ometimes we'll have somebody stand up and start screaming and then the press fix it up like it's a big deal, but to be honest with you, we have had tremendous harmony, and there's love in those rooms," he said.

Trump told Fox News this morning that plans to skip the upcoming GOP debate scheduled for Monday on Fox News -- he said he is slated to give a speech at the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC conference instead. "Nobody told me about debates. As you saw I thought the last debate on CNN was the last debate," he told Fox & Friends, Politico reported. Trump's presence has helped pump up ratings for the GOP debates.

Trump told MSNBC that he had been receiving calls from prominent Republicans he wouldn't identify but whom he said had been on talks shows previously speaking out against Trump. "They want to get together," he told Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.