A few days old but worth noting before it slips off the radar. What’s impressive about this isn’t just how legally dubious it is but how it’s tailor-made for Trump to exploit it to his own ends.
Until this very moment, I thought “safe space” paranoia was a campus phenomenon. Not so. The virus has spread to low-level Democratic functionaries like Lindsey Horvath.
I firmly believe it is the responsibility of those of us in leadership to use our words and actions wisely. That is why I took the opportunity to express how deeply disturbed I am by the Trump presidential campaign and to call out their destructive tactics. The campaign has gone beyond its right to express a political point of view or policy differences, which we all have to greater or lesser degrees. The hate speech and implicit calls to violence coming from Trump and his campaign are beyond the pale and have no place in any community in our country…
From mocking people living with disabilities to classifying entire ethnicities as violent criminals to persecuting specific religious communities, Trump has pursued headlines in this election season with reckless abandon. The policy positions he has taken — opposing marriage equality, reproductive freedom, and a pathway to citizenship, to name a few — violate basic human rights. Furthermore, his encouragement and defense of acts of violence at recent campaign events is conduct unbecoming of any decent American, especially someone seeking the highest elected office in our country.
As West Hollywood’s mayor, I have stated for the record that Trump’s campaign of violence and intimidation is not welcome in our city. We can all express political differences of opinion without endangering the safety and well being of the members of our community.
It’s jerky for a public official to warn a citizen that they’re not welcome in the neighborhood but there’s nothing illegal about it, right? Perhaps — but how about this?
“As Mayor of West Hollywood, it is my primary responsibility to keep our community safe,” she wrote in an email to the Washington Examiner…
The 34-year-old mayor has already instructed City staff that they are able to refuse to issue special events permits to Trump should he attempt to schedule a rally in the Los Angeles County city, and “such actions are well with [their] right[s],” Horvath told the Examiner.
Golly, that sure sounds like viewpoint discrimination, which is highly unconstitutional under the First Amendment. The state is allowed to restrict public speech by time, place, or manner, i.e. to tell a speaker that he can’t hold an event in a particular place or at a particular time due to logistical considerations, but they’re never allowed to tell the speaker that he can’t speak anywhere at any time because the powers that be don’t like what he has to say. I’m mighty curious to know what exception Horvath thinks she’s found to that rule. Maybe she doesn’t think she’s found one. If I were a betting man, I’d bet that this is a publicity stunt by an up-and-coming leftist pol seeking to pick a fight with Trump to muscle in on his spotlight. If I’m wrong, though, and she’s on the level about this, I assume there’s something tucked away in the local rules granting authorities the right to cancel a public event if there’s a threat to “public safety.” That would jibe with all the hot air in Horvath’s op-ed about the danger Trump supposedly poses: “We know firsthand how charged language can incite dangerous activity that puts our residents and neighborhoods at risk and at great cost to our cities.” Presumably she’d argue in court that Trump’s speech is so incendiary and his winking at violence against protesters so threatening that there’s no place and no time in West Hollywood that a rally could safely be held. That argument should be laughed out of court — if taken seriously, it’s a license for the government to ban all inflammatory public speakers — but who knows what liberal judges in California would do.
If I were Trump, though, I’d be keen to find out. He never would have scheduled a rally in West Hollywood before this, I’m sure, but he’d be a chump not to schedule one now. Make a spectacle of Horvath’s lame attempt at left-wing “safe space” censorship. Plan a rally and then, when the permit’s denied, sue the pants off of her and her administration on First Amendment grounds. He’d very likely win, which would be a nice feather in his cap, and win or lose he could say that he feels duty bound to stand up for free speech against politically correct government bullies. Even his critics, starting with me, would back him up. And then, when he wins, imagine the fun he’ll have holding a rally in West Hollywood on the eve of the all-important California primary in June. Remember, California is highly likely to decide whether Trump clinches a majority of delegates before the convention or not. Any good press he can muster in the state before then will help him. He’ll get plenty of good press for suing over this. I think it’s a no-brainer.