Presidential candidate Donald Trump claims he’s the nation’s great unifier, but his racially incendiary rhetoric often leads to violence at his overflow rallies.
Trump, at his core, is a bully whose ‘us-against-them’ narrative encourages his blue-collar supporters to rough up anyone who disagrees with him. The victims of physical harassment at Trump’s rallies are disproportionately Black.
From the podium, Trump says he would like to “punch” protestors at his rallies and that he would consider paying legal fees for John McGraw, 78, who was arrested for sucker-punching a Black protester, Rakeem Jones, 26, during a Trump rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina last week.
“But I want to see. The man got carried away, he was 78 years old, he obviously loves his country, and maybe he doesn’t like seeing what’s happening to the country,” Trump said.
Trump is on the wrong side of so many issues. He was forced to cancel one of his rallies over the weekend after protestors of all racial backgrounds jammed into the arena where Trump was scheduled to speak at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion.
When one African American protester was escorted out before the event started, some shouted, “Let him stay!”
The cancellation led to a raucous all-out brawl: fights between Trump supporters and Trump protestors. It was a sad sight.
We’re living in an era where Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president, has whipped his electorate into a racial frenzy. He’s called Mexicans “rapists,” falsely claiming that all Muslims “hate” Americans and vowed to build a wall to keep immigrants out of the United States, although he says he’d allow “the good ones” to stay.
His speeches have led to White supremacist groups, like the KKK, reportedly using Trump’s image to recruit members to their racist organizations.
And the tension is escalating.
Last week, at a Trump rally in North Carolina, McGraw was caught on video sucker-punching Jones. The incident happened in front of police and McGraw was arrested and charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct.
But Jones was escorted out of the rally and McGraw was allowed to stay. Some Whites reportedly shouted racial epithets at Jones after McGraw punched him in the face.
McGraw wasn’t arrested until Thursday. “Yes, he deserved it,” McGraw told reporters, referring to Jones. “The next time we see him, we might have to kill him.”
Kill him? Really? Why are Trump’s supporters so filled with hate?
Because Trump fires them up with fabricated versions of events.
“He was a rough guy, and he was punching. And we had some people, some rough guys like we have right in here, and they started punching back,” Trump, referring to Jones, told reporters. “It was a beautiful thing.”
There was no evidence that Jones was disrupting the event or started any physical contact.
And it’s become a disturbing, familiar pattern: Last year, a Black man was kicked, punched and called the ‘N-word’ by Whites at a Trump rally in Alabama and last week, a group of African American students from Valdosta State University in Georgia were abruptly herded out of a Trump rally while some of the students angrily complained that racial epithets were hurled at them by Whites.
Trump continued to hold his raucous rallies leading into Tuesday’s five critical primaries, which included Ohio and Florida.
“My people are nice. My people are great,” Trump told a crowd in Ohio on Saturday. “Don’t let them rip you away from your position. These are bad people. These are people who don’t want to make American great again.”
McGraw said he cold-cocked Jones because Jones “wasn’t acting like an American.”
Aren’t peaceful protests the cornerstone of American principles and ideals? I remember Southern Whites calling Black folks “un-American” because they were marching for justice, peacefully, during the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
But today, we’re again witnessing the violent resurgence of racial and cultural polarization from Alabama to Illinois as history is repeating itself. Americans are once again sitting on a racial powder keg, but this time it’s Trump not George Wallace who is lighting the fuse.