I started the day taking on some unfair, or at least hypocritical, complaints about Donald Trump from CNN commentator Van Jones so I feel compelled to also note this story to point out that, Jones aside, some of the behavior at Trump’s Tuesday rally in Louisville really does seem to cross a line into mob-like behavior.
The woman in this viral clip is named Shiya Nwanguma and according to this report she’s a college student at the University of Louisville. I’m assuming she went to the rally to protest Trump and, let’s further stipulate, to create a disturbance. Maybe I’m wrong about that but let’s assume it’s the case for the sake of argument. Now look at what is happening in this video (actually two clips). This isn’t police or professional security escorting a disruptive woman out of the venue. That would be fine. In fact, we saw the same thing happen at a Bill Clinton rally just a few days ago. Disruptive people get ejected from rallies on either side of the aisle.
The problem here is that several adult men in the crowd decide to take it upon themselves to assault a female college student. I count at least four men who shove Nwanguma in the back in a way that would make me, and anyone reading this, extremely angry if it was their own college age daughter (or sister, or friend, etc.) on the receiving end:
Here’s the tail end of that clip:
Nwanguma was interviewed on the street after being escorted out and here’s what she says happened beyond what is already visible in the video:
So let’s just say that on top of what looks like assault of a young woman by several adult men, some of the people at the rally were also being racist idiots.
Is it fair to hold Trump responsible for the behavior at his rallies? He’s certainly not directly responsible for the dummies and racists in the crowd who decide to act like dummies and racists. People are responsible for their own behavior and I’m not a fan of the “climate of hate” argument Democrats trot out whenever they can’t quite connect someone to a bad act they desperately want to connect them to (see Sarah Palin and the Tucson shooting).
That said, just because Trump’s not directly responsible for the bad behavior of the men in the video doesn’t mean their bad behavior won’t reflect badly on him. We’ve seen enough people get ejected from his rallies by now that Trump himself ought to a) know this is likely to happen and b) think about how it happens. If nothing else, he ought to be concerened about how it will look on TV. Is it possible that he’s in such a bubble he’s unaware this stuff is happening? That seems unlikely given how much time he spends on Twitter and how many of these clips have gone viral so far.
Allowing incidents like this to continue for the next several months is only going to insure the worst people who show up to Trump’s rallies become the media face of Trump’s rallies. If he doesn’t want that to happen, and I’m assuming he doesn’t, then he’s the person who needs to do something about it. It’s also the right thing for a leader to do, i.e. take on the responsibility to make sure his events go well, not badly.
Like it or not, political opponents interrupting your speeches is part of the electoral process. They can and should be removed, but they can’t be roughed up and called the n-word. If Trump says and does nothing about it, at some point it really does become fair to wonder why.