Yesterday the violence and inherent threat of violence has finally led to a shut down of a Trump Rally in Chicago. Thousands of protesters and thousand of Trump supporters clashed. As I write this line the news is on and a police officer just walked past with his head bleeding. CNN reports that 2 officers were injured and 5 people arrested. Protesters and supporters clashed inside and outside the venue where Trump was expected to speak before the Republican front runner could even make his way to there. This occurred just mere hours after violence broke out at a Trump rally in St. Louis. According to CNN, 32 protesters were arrested, 31 charged with disorderly conduct and 1 with third-degree-assault. “These people are so bad for our country, you have no idea, folks,” Trump said as one protester was escorted out by officials. “They contribute nothing, nothing.”[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kd6pVAb_tHs]
On Monday February 30, 2016, 30 black students were forcefully ejected from a Donald Trump rally at Valdosta State University without provocation. I was as disgusted as most when the video went viral of 21-year-old University of Louisville student, Shiya Nwanguma being physically and verbally assaulted at a Trump rally held March 1,2016. Two of the main agitators have been identified. Joseph Pryor, a prospective marine, in a program waiting for deployment has been released from duty. The United States Marine Corps recruiting office said, effective March 2, Pryor had been discharged from their Delayed Entry Program. Alvin Bamberger who is a member of the Korean War Veterans Association has since issued a public apology. An apology is not good enough, this 75 year old veteran pushed and shoved and innocent woman. In his apology he said was “caught up in the frenzy” of being surrounded by Trump supporters”, including those he said were “white supremacists, and of hearing the presidential candidate himself shout, “Get them out! Get them out!” “I physically pushed a young woman down the aisle toward the exit, an action I sincerely regret,” Bamberger said in a letter to the president of the Korean War Veterans Association
Wednesday it happened again in Fayetteville, North Carolina. A video went viral of Rakeem Jones, a young Black man being escorted out of a Donald Trump rally. While flanked by security guards a stranger approaches and sucker punched him. More disturbing are the images of Rakeem Jones being handcuffed and further detained afterwards. The man who punched him, John McGraw, was not detained but was eventually identified and charged. McGraw may have gotten away with his cowardly act had he not been so proud of himself. After the incident he bragged on camera about what he did and added “The next time we see him, we might have to kill him.” He has been charged with assault, disorderly conduct and communicating threats. CNN reports that an internal investigation has been opened by the police department as to why McGraw wasn’t immediately detained.
In a phone interview with the Washington Post Jones says “It’s happening at all these rallies now and they’re letting it ride. The police jumped on me like I was the one swinging. My eye still hurts. It’s just shocking. The shock of it all is starting to set in. It’s like this dude really hit me and they let him get away with it. I was basically in police custody and got hit.”
Donald Trump has not spoken out against the violence that is occurring at is rallies, mostly towards Blacks and other minorities. However, he has not shied away from questions regarding it. When asked he manages to divert the blame from his hate filled rhetoric to things such as low unemployment among Black people and lack of adequate wages. He does not speak on why he can be seen screaming “Get them out of here” to the crowd of supporters just before they started attacking college students in Kentucky. At the Fayetteville rally where Jones was punched, Trump called protesters “professional troublemakers.” It is not uncommon for Trump to play dumb on topics like this. A week ago he refused to speak ill of the KKK after former clan leader David Duke spoke out in support of the GOP candidate. Duke told his supporters to not vote Trump would be anti- American. Trump, when asked about David Duke and the KKK, pretended to not be aware of the former leader and his endorsement. He had nothing to say about the hate fueled KKK either. Last month at a rally the GOP front runner said himself that he’d like to punch a particular protester in the face.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjUlaGTr7o8]
If you think that the violence being perpetrated against people at Trump rallies is limited to anti- Trump minorities you’re wrong. A Washington Post reporter claims that on Tuesday Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski yanked another journalist out of Trump’s path by grabbing her arm, hard enough to leave bruises. February 29th a Times Magazine photographer was choked and slammed to the ground by Trump’s secret service detail. The White House Correspondents Association issued a statement Thursday asking for calm.“Broadly speaking, the WHCA unequivocally condemns any act of violence or intimidation against any journalist covering the 2016 campaign, whether perpetrated by a candidate’s supporters, staff or security officers. We expect that all the contenders for the nation’s highest office agree that this would be unacceptable,” the statement said in part. Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields subsequently filed a police report against Donald Trump’s presidential campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in Juniper, Florida.
If you think the Republican candidate will speak out specifically about the violence I’d only refer you to some of his previous statements at recent rallies. He seems to be agitating the aggressors and egging them on to commit violence in his name. Statements such as
“If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of ’em, would you? Seriously. Okay? Just knock the hell — I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise. I promise.” Donald Trump – February 1 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
“Get him out. Try not to hurt him. If you do I’ll defend you in court.”
“Are Trump rallies the most fun?” he then asked the crowd. “We’re having a good time.” Donald Trump – March 4 in Warren, Michigan
“See, in the good old days this didn’t use to happen, because they used to treat them very rough. We’ve become very weak.” Donald Trump – March 9 in Fayetteville, North Carolina
When I first started research for this article it was meant to go in a totally different direction. I started writing and then took a nap. When I woke up I woke to the news of the Chicago rally being canceled and the news of the violence and arrests in St. Louis. To date there have been at least 4 documented assaults on minorities at Donald Trump rallies, the KKK have been out in support, and while I can’t say the Reverend Al Sharpton has been silent, I will say he has been very tame in his condemnation of Trump and apparent bigotry.
I grew up watching Reverend Sharpton flock to almost any cause that would further his platform the National Action Network. When the police shoot an unarmed Black man Al Sharpton is in the forefront of the protests. He attends funerals to show his “support” and garner more attention. He has been called a race baiter by many because normally in cases like this, where minorities are clearly being attacked, belittled and degraded he would be calling foul. Now again, I can not claim that Reverend Sharpton has been silent but like his old friend Donald Trump he is good at avoiding the real issue when asked about Trump.
Sharpton told Rawstory
“What plays at Lincoln Center don’t play at the Apollo. And I think that he is an Apollo act in Lincoln Center. I think that what worked in his tabloid, playing the New York celebrity thing does not work when you’re on a serious thing.”
In December of last year Sharpton, who had a working relationship with Trump in the late 80’s purposed the idea that Trump was only drawn to accomplished Black people to help his businesses.
“Black celebrities and luminaries live in a world that is much more engaging of Trump, and parallel with Trump’s world, than those of us that have been in politics and civil rights on the ground for as long as Trump has been out there,” Mr. Sharpton said. Mr. Trump has little understanding of the lives of the vast majority of African-Americans, he said.
“It’s not like there’s a Trump building in Harlem,” he added.
Last month in an interview with Politico Sharpton said the following of Trump:
REV. SHARPTON: But I don’t dislike him. He’s the kind of personality that is hard to dis–he’s entertaining, let’s put it that way.
REV. SHARPTON: You’d have to be a New Yorker to understand him.
REV. SHARPTON: You’d have to be a New Yorker. And Donald Trump reminds me of a lot of New York guys that own businesses that do what they have to do to survive. And I think New Yorkers understand Trump.
Sharpton says Trump has a personality that’s hard to dis… dislike? I find his personality very unlikable. I guess because I’m not from New York.
Newsmax reported the following quote from Sharpton last month “I think what he has said has been biased and bigoted, but I don’t know if Donald Trump is really a bigoted guy,” Sharpton said.
Sharpton’s recent response to Trump’s hate filled rhetoric and he assaults on minorities at his rallies has been to say “Donald Trump in his defiant, bias-tinged kind of persona, could be the biggest turnout of black and Latino voters we have ever seen.” He claims that National Action Network will make announce major plans to motivate voters in April. Sharpton told The Hill this week. “If the Democrats handle Trump’s birther stuff [and the KKK controversy well], people would not only stand in line all night, they would come the night before and spend the night.”
Wonder why a man who usually is so vocal about social injustice, racial profiling and bigotry is tip toeing so lightly around Donald Trump? That’s not hard to figure out. Like many have said for year Al follows the money, and while it’s civil rights he claims to put above all, the reality is money Trumps civil rights when it comes to Trump.
Al and “The Don” were introduced to each other in the 80’s by boxing promoter legend Don King.
REV. SHARPTON: Don King actually introduced me to Donald Trump. When Donald Trump got–When he–when Donald Trump began opening hotels in Atlantic City, he wanted to get–first, he had to deal with the fact that much of the city council there was black. And that he had to deal with–he wanted to get boxing in. Mike Tyson was a hot sensation. Don King and Tyson was working with me on when I was painting crack houses, closing crack houses. Don King said, “You need to make peace with Al Sharpton,” because I had marched on Trump about the ads he had ran against the Central Park Five, which I ended up being right about–
( I love how whoever did the transcription captured his stuttering and sentence breaks as he carefully chose his words.)
Trump commented on his relationship with Sharpton on Fox News last December. “I know [Sharpton] very well, and I’ve always gotten along with him, to be honest with you. There are those who say [Sharpton] likes Trump a lot….. Al’s a con man. He knows it. I know it. Don King knows it, his friend, who I go to with fights with — with Al. And they all know it.”
Sharpton faced tax woes in the late 80’s. The Washington Post listed Trump and King in July 1989— along with CBS, Coca-Cola, Warner Communications, and Miller Brewing Co. — as National Youth Movement donors which Sharpton ran at the time. In April 1990 the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Sharpton had raised $70,000 at a 1986 fundraising dinner “by selling $300 seats to record companies and organizations headed by boxing promoter Don King and entrepreneur Donald Trump.” The prosecutors alleged that only $4,500 went to the National Youth Movement’s anti-drug campaign, with the rest diverted elsewhere by Sharpton according to the National review.
Trump is alleged to have given generous donations to Sharpton’s National Youth Movement, supported his presidential ambitions in 2004, and if the rumors are true helped him with a personal issue regarding his alleged mistress.
People are asking the right questions of Al Sharpton, they know they are asking the right person and he should have much more to say. I know, like me, many must be confused as to why he has not slammed Trump the way he would have slammed anyone else. Trump is spitting hate-filled venom and encouraging violence from his supporters against minorities. To that Sharpton says this is the time for Democrats to spin it in their favor. He says Trumps statements are bigoted but he wouldn’t call Trump himself a bigot. He says you’d have to be from New York to understand Trump. He is not using his platform to denounce his good old buddy and his hate- filled rhetoric. Is that any different than Trump not denouncing the KKK or the violence at his rallies? See no evil speak no evil I guess….well it’s all over the internet, in videos and pictures what can’t be seen clear enough? So why are those with influence silent on the real cause? How many people need to leave Trump rallies bruised and bloodied? Is this what should be accepted from any leader…civil rights activist to presidential hopeful?