The 2016 Campaign Joke That’s No Longer Funny — Just Violent
Let’s be honest: We’ve all been kind of enjoying watching Donald Trump, even if the prospect of him becoming the next president makes many of us shudder in horror.
But as he continues to lead in national polls, Trump’s campaign is giving us all another reason to pause: As of late, physical violence has been following the candidate on the campaign trail, and leaving those who dare challenge his offensive remarks and policy positions shaken up at best, banged up and bruised at worst. The common thread among those attacked by Trump’s goons (both hired and not): They’re all Latino men.
On Thursday, while Donald Trump was signing a GOP loyalty oath, promising to back the winning Republican presidential nominee and not run as an independent should he lose the party’s nomination, one of his security guards ripped a sign away from protesters outside Trump Tower in New York City and then hit a protester in the face after the man attempted to retrieve the sign.
The large blue banner read, “Make America Racist Again,” a play on Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
In news video footage, the protester who was hit, Efraín Galicia, is seen chasing after the security guard. As Galicia attempts to take back the sign, the guard turns and hits him in the face.
“These men are acting just like their boss, Donald Trump, pushing Jorge Ramos from Univision out,” Galicia said of the guards. “This man thinks he can do whatever he wants in this country, and we’re going to stop him.”
“The Trump campaign said that the security team member on Thursday was ‘jumped from behind’ and that the campaign would ‘likely be pressing charges,'” The New York Times reports.
This week’s strong-arming follows an August incident in which journalist Jorge Ramos was physically removed from a Trump campaign event by a security guard — who appears to be the same man who struck the protester outside Trump Tower.
When Ramos attempted to ask Trump a question about immigration, without being acknowledged to speak by The Donald, Trump told him to sit down and “Go back to Univision.” Later, Trump said he was not a bully, and Ramos “was totally out of line.”
In the most physically violent example of what Trump and his campaign have wrought, two of the candidate’s supporters in Boston allegedly beat and urinated on a homeless Latino man, after which one of the attackers reportedly told police, “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.”
The survivor of the assault, a 58-year-old man who had been sleeping on the street, had his nose broken and chest and arms beaten by the suspects, two brothers who were leaving a Boston Red Sox game.
Adding insult to significant physical injury, Trump’s immediate comment on the attack was callous and cruel. The Boston Globe reports:
Trump, told of the alleged assault, said “it would be a shame … 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.”
Later, he tempered his original statement, claiming on Twitter that he “would never condone violence.”
Boston incident is terrible. We need energy and passion, but we must treat each other with respect. I would never condone violence.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2015
He “would never condone violence,” Trumps says, but he would, and has, proposed deporting millions of undocumented immigrants, stripping citizenship rights from the American children of undocumented immigrants, and building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to keep out immigrants, refugees, and political asylum seekers fleeing poverty and violence in their countries. He has also said he would bomb nations in the Middle East and take their oil by military force. But, again, he “would never condone violence.”
While Trump himself has not put his hands on anyone, his rhetoric against undocumented immigrants, his choice of words, which dehumanizes Latino immigrants as “illegals,” and his responses to the violent altercations occurring in his name make him responsible.
What began as comical media fodder that has kept us smiling in disgust during the start of the long 2016 presidential campaign season has devolved into violent hate with bodily consequences. And with five months to go until the GOP primaries begin, Americans should be worried about how politics, sometimes described as the civilized exertion of power, is turning into a blood sport.
We need to stop chuckling and start fighting the urge to watch Trump. It may be the only way to resist his brand of violence.
Photo: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reacts as he speaks at the 2015 FreedomFest in Las Vegas, Nevada, July 11, 2015. REUTERS/L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun