Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump Saturday pledged to give greater power to police officers to "get rid" of gangs. He also promised an announcement on whether he will run as an independent candidate will be made "very soon."
Speaking to the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, Trump said getting rid of gang members in cities like Baltimore and Chicago would be one of the first things he would do as president. "We’re going to get rid of those gang members so fast your head will spin," he told the audience.
Trump has previously received attention for some of his statements on crime. The Trump campaign's official position is that Mexico is "taking advantage of the United States by using illegal immigration to export the crime and poverty" from their Mexico to the United States. Trump has also said he would ask Mexico to pay for a wall on the southern U.S. border.
After the event, Trump told the press he would be making a decision soon on whether to run as an independent. The Washington Post reported Trump has to pledge by Sept. 30 not to run as an independent if he wants to appear on the South Carolina primary ballot. Local GOP rules state candidates have to sign a pledge they "intend to support the nominees and platform of the Republican Party in the Nov. 8, 2016, general election."
Noting his lead in the polls and great relationship with the party's support base, Trump said that he believes the Republican party had treated him "very, very fairly," saying the public will see some "very interesting" things in the next two weeks. However, he also noted the Republican nomination "would certainly be the best path to victory," and the eventual decision on whether to run as an independent would make a lot of people "very happy." A poll by NBC indicated 54 percent of candidates would be happy if he ran as an independent.
Trump also stood by comments he made about Anthony Weiner being a "perv," adding Weiner "obviously is psychologically disturbed." Weiner, a former New York congressman, was involved in a sexting scandal with young women. "I think it's a very fair statement that I made and a lot of people have congratulated me," he said.
Trump also said Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, is passing on sensitive information to her husband in her role as a Clinton adviser. Speaking after an event in Nashville, Tennessee, Trump said: "[Abedin] is receiving this very, very important information and giving it to Hillary. Well, who else is she giving it to?"
Meanwhile, at a speech at the Democratic National Convention, nomination hopeful Hillary Clinton took the opportunity to take some jabs at Trump.