In an interview with George Stephanopoulos yesterday on ABC This Week, Trump discussed the rising protests and violent incidents at his rallies this week. As shown in our blog post this weekend, a protester was viciously punched and kicked by a Trump supporter in Tuscon. A road leading to a rally in Phoenix was blocked by protesters, resulting in several arrests.
Trump references the road blocks in Phoenix and apparently there were protesters blocking the doors to the rally in Tucson, saying “these people are very disruptive.” He goes on to blame the protester that was assaulted in Tuscon, saying “Well, he..he or his partner, was wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit and this happened to be an African-American man, a person at the rally, who was very, very incensed.” Stephanopoulos, to his credit, repeatedly calls out Trump for appearing to excuse politically motivated violence at his rally. Trump doubles down, saying “Why would a protester walk into the room with a Ku Klux Klan outfit on?” The man assaulted was actually wearing an American flag shirt. When Trump finally concedes and says “we don’t condone violence”, the eye rolling is almost audible on the tape.
Trump then makes himself into the victim. “They’re disruptives, and it’s really stopping our First Amendment rights, if you think about it George. They blocked a road, they put their cars in front of a road. We had thousands and thousands of people that wanted to come, they were delayed for an hour, because of these protesters. At what point do the people blame the protesters?”
At what point do we blame the protesters for exercising their First Amendment rights? In the same breath Trump whines that his First Amendment rights were impugned while saying that the protesters should not be allowed to protest. He has 20,000 people at his rally, police are arresting people that are blocking the roads, his private security and campaign manager are assaulting protesters. Where is the respect for their rights, Mr. Trump? Are you so insecure in your position that some college kid with a pillow case on his head threatens your rights?