This article was written by guest contributor Aaron.
As of late many news outlets are reporting on the protests and violence breaking out at Trump campaign rallies across the US. By now Trump’s comments about shooting a person on Fifth Avenue and the statement – “I’d like to punch him in the face” are well reported and brought up in many articles about this recent spike in violence (including this one).
Additionally, Trump has claimed that “there’s no violence, no one has been hurt.” Clearly this is untrue.
The animosity coming from Trump camp has been building slowly since The Donald announced his bid for president back in June of last year. At a rally in Iowa in February of this year, Trump made the comment:
“There may be somebody with tomatoes in the audience. So if you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. Okay? Just knock the hell – I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise. It won’t be so much because the courts agree with us too.”
It’s not exactly clear what Trump meant with his last statement about the courts. Are the courts okay with assault? At the same rally in Las Vegas that gave us Trump’s “punch in the face” line, we were also given this gem:
“You know what I hate? There’s a guy, totally disruptive, throwing punches, we’re not allowed to punch back anymore. I love the old days. You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks.”
During the recent Republican debate in Florida, Trump was asked about this uptick in violence:
“We have some protesters who are bad dudes, they have done bad things. They are swinging, they are really dangerous and they get in there and they start hitting people. And we had a couple big, strong, powerful guys doing damage to people, not only the loudness, the loudness I don’t mind. But doing serious damage. And if they’ve got to be taken out, to be honest, I mean, we have to run something.”
As of yet, no video has surfaced showing demonstrators acting in the manor that Trump described.
One recent incident in North Carolina resulted in assault charges being brought against John McGraw, who elbowed protestor Rakeem Jones in the face as he was escorted out of the arena by police. In a video taken at the rally, Rakeem Jones can be seen walking up the steps of the arena when McGraw steps into the aisle and elbows him unprovoked. In a short video recorded just after the rallies’ finish, the seventy-eight-year-old McGraw spoke briefly about what he liked about the rally, saying, “knocking the hell out of that big mouth” with a smile. He then goes on to say, “the next time we see him, we might have to kill him.”
Does that mean that Trump is going to cover Mr. McGraw’s legal fees? It appears that he might. In an interview with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, Todd posed the possibility of Trump helping out with Mr. McGraw’s fees. Trump replied, “I’ve actually instructed my people to look into it, yes.”
By paying McGraw’s legal fees, isn’t Donald Trump condoning what McGraw has done? Most people don’t put money into things they don’t believe in. Trump has been nonchalant about the increasing number of these kinds of incidents taking place at his rallies. From the very beginning, Trump has seemed to embrace the animosity flowing through his crowd but then I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at that considering he was the one to put it there.