Reince Priebus: "Plenty of blame to go around" for violence at Trump rallies

RNC chairman on violence at Trump rallies, po... 05:38

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Monday that there is "plenty of blame to go around," when it comes to increased violence at campaign rallies, particularly those of GOP front-runner Donald Trump's, and that party leaders "on both sides" need to denounce the violence.

"I certainly have, and I don't think violence is the answer," he said in an interview on "CBS This Morning." "I think violence begets violence and so you know I always think it takes two to tangle but obviously, it needs to be denounced from all sides both sides."

He blamed the media in part for the spike in violence because of the attention most news outlets give to the campaign-trail chaos.

"The media is obsessed with it -- I mean, not necessarily you all at CBS, but other shows have this stuff on a constant loop," he said. "I mean, they find an altercation and they play it and it's 24/7, they preempt everything else, everyone's kicked off the air for hours and hours so that we can keep talk about you know, a couple of knuckleheads swinging at each other."

Asked whether he's concerned about Trump's warning that, if he goes to Cleveland with the most delegates but doesn't come out with the nomination that there will be "riots," Priebus said he didn't consider Trump's words at the level of a "warning"--but that the party is prepared with security in Cleveland.

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"We prepare for all contingencies, we will have over $50 million in security at the convention. You know it sounds like a lot, but 24/2,500 delegates, is not that many people," he said. "Most state chairmen in this country have conventions that are even larger than that, so we'll be prepared, it'll be fine and I guarantee you we'll have a good time and it'll be a fun convention in Cleveland."

Asked twice to comment on Trump's language regarding Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly--he has repeatedly called her "crazy" and "sick" in recent days--Priebus wouldn't say whether he denounces the language or whether it's unpresidential.

"Well, it's not a matter of whether its presidential or not because that's a word we can all choose to define for ourselves," he said. "But it's not something I would do, and it's not something that I think we aspire to get engaged with. And so I think we need to keep things at top level, keep things positive, talk about bringing America together and unifying this country."

As for whether he'll be able to ultimately bring the party together at the Republican convention in Cleveland this summer, Priebus said it's impossible to please everyone but that the party will unify once there's a nominee.

"Don't confuse unity with unanimity. You know, you're never gonna get unanimity," he said. "You're never gonna get a hundred percent of everyone on board. And clearly this has been a contentious drama-filled primary, I mean I'm not actually trying to make pretend that it's not, but I also think we have to put in perspective."

Priebus added that the Democrats are having a "rough primary" too, though he acknowledged that "obviously ours is probably a little bit more drama-filled."

"We could have a nominee before Cleveland, we could have an open convention at Cleveland, so look we're in historic times and I recognize that," he said. "But at the same time, when you take all our candidates and put them head to head against Hillary Clinton, in most cases we're beating her, if not slightly behind."

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    Emily Schultheis

    Emily Schultheis is a reporter/editor for CBS News Digital.