Sunday, March 20, 2016

Trump Faults Protesters Over Violence

(Photo obtained from the New York Times, taken by the Associated Press)

On Saturday, dozens of protesters blocked traffic near a Donald Trump event in Arizona. Three protesters were arrested and two cars were towed. Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Joaquin Enriquez stressed that the arrests were for blocking the road, not for protesting. Regarding the blockage, Trump stated, “I think it’s really unfair that these, really, in many cases professional, in many cases sick, protestors can put cars in a road blocking thousands of great Americans from coming to a speech, and nobody says anything about that. It’s a very unfair double standard.”

The rally was also marked by violence, including one of the most violent confrontations at a Trump appearance. 32-year-old Tony Pettway was caught on video punching and kicking a protester and charged with assault and injury. The incident took place when an anti-Trump protester wearing an American flag shirt and holding a sign that read “Trump is Bad for America” was being escorted out of the rally.

In response to the incident, Trump refused to condemn the assault, claiming that the victim had been accompanied by another protester provocatively wearing a KKK costume: “There's a disgusting guy, puts on a Ku Klux Klan hat on, he thinks he is cute -- he's a disgusting guy, These are not good people, folks. They're throwing the flag all over the place... And they're not really protesters, they're agitators.”

Other Republican leaders, however, including Senator Mitch McConnell suggested that Trump should do more to calm his crowds. Republican national chairman Reince Priebus said it was a mistake for the campaign staff to get involved with the violence: “As far as everyone getting involved in the crowds, leave it to the professionals.” McConnell added, “I think all the candidates for president ought to be discouraging that kind of activity because the people in the audience tend to listen to those who are speaking. We ought to condemn this kind of violence and encourage the American people to engage in this political debate in a respectful way.”

So who’s to blame here? On one hand, perhaps Trump’s argument that the protesters should not have been blocking the road holds some merit. Regarding the violence, however, were the protesters being excessively provocative? To what extent should Trump be held responsible for the actions of his followers?



Nick Jadallah said...

OK. So, I think there is no single person or group to blame in this situation. On one hand, you do have Donald Trump whose views and ideas on issues are certainly controversial and to some, provocative. I will not deny that. His remarks against minorities in particular are quite disturbing at times. With this said, I don't think it is fair to do things like block roads so he and/or his followers cannot attend rallies and speeches. Protesting at his rallies or speeches? That's absolutely fine...just as long as it is not something that PREVENTS Trump from getting his message across to his followers. I understand that many people strongly disagree with his views, and the violence at his rallies (and the fact that he does not take some responsibility for the violence) is something to frown upon. Assaulting a person wearing a Tshirt and holding a sign is not acceptable in any way shape of form, and Trump needs to condemn violence like this. However, it is still important to respect his right to have these views and share them with others. Whether or not you choose to respect the views themselves? That is a different question all together, but Trump does have a point about the protesters...kind of. I think that protesting is absolutely fine...even protesters who attend Trump rallies, but once the protesters begin disrupting the rally in a SIGNIFICANT (like road blocks) way, then that is not really acceptable.

Anonymous said...

I think that the protesters had every right to protest, especially when its against someone like Donald Trump but blocking roads and assaulting people is against the law and that is no excuse for breaking the law. Trump should be shunned for not condemning violence at his rallies but like Nick said above, he is free to get his message across to those willing to listen and when people attempt to restrict that through illegal methods it becomes an issue.

Huayu Ouyang said...
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Huayu Ouyang said...
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Huayu Ouyang said...

I agree with Nick that I don't think protesters should necessarily block roads or start violence at Trump rallies and events in order to stop Trump from spreading his message because that could be a violation of freedom of speech. However, I do think that they should be allowed to protest peacefully at his rallies and speeches against his stances and messages. I also don't think that the protesters should be blamed for violence at Trump's rallies because from what I've read about the Arizona and Chicago rallies, it was not the protesters who started the violence but the Trump supporters. Perhaps the protesters were being too provocative but I don't think that is an excuse for the Trump supporters who punched protesters in the face. This violence is not surprising considering that Trump once remarked that that a protester was smiling while being escorted out of his rally and that he'd like to "punch him in the face." He has also said that protesters should be "roughed up more." For that reason, I do think that Trump should be held responsible for the actions of his followers because he is encouraging violence and hate among his supporters.

Teague Bredl said...

America has a lot of people. Some people are stupid, so: some x lot of people= a decent amount of stupid people. Whether you want to blame Donald's dad for not spanking him, or the American public for giving him so much attention, it's pretty funny. In this situation, where people attempted to block the roads to keep people from attending the rally, you can still blame Trump for being the most hated candidate ever. The altercation with Tony Pettway was probably avoidable as I don't think people should protest rallies, it only helps the candidates and gives them more coverage than they probably deserve. Rallies are for the supporters, and I think if people kept that in mind and didn't protest and block roads, this would be a much more political election season instead of a popularity contest.