Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Miami on Friday saw protest by activists angry about his attacks on Hispanics, resulting in acts of violence that included one Trump supporter that was shown on video dragging and kicking one protester. It marks a trend in the Presidential campaign of the billionaire real estate developer, that unlike any of the other campaigns has seen his campaign punctuated with acts of violence as well as some individuals publicly declaring “White Power!” at his events.
The Florida Immigrant Coalition organized the protest where several persons disrupted Trump as he spoke. They were met with chants of “Trump! Trump! Trump!” and “USA! USA! USA!” before some Trump supporters took matters into their own hands. In one video, an unidentified White man wearing a red polo shirt is seen pulling protester Ariel Rojas by the back of his shirt, and when Rojas, a senior at Florida International University, falls to the ground, the man in the polo shirt then drags him along the floor towards the room’s exit and kicking him as he was still lying on the ground. Other Trump supporters also attacked protesters, one group grabbing their signs and tearing them up, and another reporting hitting a protester with a sign reading “The Silent Majority Supports Trump.” Trump did little to help deescalate the situation, shouting from the podium, “Don’t hurt them, don’t hurt them, don’t hurt them. You can get them out, but don’t hurt them. We don’t want anyone getting hurt. That’s what freedom of speech – it’s all freedom of speech.” Eventually police escorted protesters off the premises, although it is not known if action had been taken against the Trump supporters that assaulted them.
There has been at least four separate incidents of aggressive action to violence related to Trump’s campaign for president since he announced his run in June. In August, Scott and Steve Leader, two brothers from South Boston urinated on and beat a homeless Hispanic man as he slept outside a bus stop, one of the brothers telling police, “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.” In September, one of Trump’s security detail took a sign from protesters outside Trump Tower in New York that read “Make America Racist Again!” – a play on Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” – and when one of them attempted to retrieve it, he was punched in the face by that security guard. A rally in Richmond, VA this month saw a number of scuffles between protesters and Trump supporters, one spitting in the face of a supporter, and another a well-known neo-Nazi from the Carytown section of Richmond named Caitlin Goode being captured on video shouting “White Power, you cunt!” to another supporter. Posting on Facebook under the name “Kaozz Veidt”, Goode said that the video was taken out of context. “She was yelling black power and I yelled white power back, to prove a point,” she posted on the ActiveRVA Facebook page. “Just goes to show you, context is important.”
This was the second time someone has been captured on video shouting White Power at a Trump rally, the first being at one held in Alabama, but Goode has a number of racist posts to various websites, including the Grio, where in 2012 she wrote in particular about her disdain for Black people. “Stealing land is what you Blacks are doing today,” she posted. “Race riots, yeah, that too. Robbing, murdering, gangs, senseless violence…all Blacks! In fact, these are things your ‘culture’ praises! Why don’t we study that during Black History Month? Oh wait, that’s right, the truth is ‘racist’ in you people’s eyes. It doesn’t sound good, so it’s racist.”
Trump’s response to the violence and the racism has ranged from lukewarm to appalling. Trump for President Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski addressed the “White Power” declarations on CNN, saying he didn’t know about the person who uttered that remark but he knew “there were 30-plus-thousand people in that stadium. They were very receptive to the message of making America great again, because they want to be proud to be Americans again.” He also said the campaign didn’t condone violence, but after the assault in Boston he was quoted as saying, “I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.” He would later backtrack from this statement, but after the Miami melee, he seemed to encourage more actions on the part of his supporters. “See the first group, I was nice. Oh, take your time,” he said about the protesters. “The second group, I was pretty nice. The third group, I’ll be a little more violent. And the fourth group, I’ll say get the hell out of here!”
But activists say that protests will continue so long as Trump is running for the highest office in the land. “His words and the anti-immigrant hatred he has promoted against immigrant families like mine, do not make this country great,” Bertha Sanlés of the pro-immigrant group United Families said in a statement. “On the contrary, immigrants have made this country great with our hard work and our contributions.”
The Miami Incident
Caitlin Goode in Richmond, Virginia during Trump rally
Trump in Mobile, Alabama, Aug. 21
Trump’s Campaign Manager responds to the “White Power” remark in Mobile…sorta