Welcome back to #TrumpWatch, where Tablet will present the daily low-lights of Donald Trump’s attempt to use the dark forces of bigotry to become President of the United States.
At Donald Trump’s rally Wednesday night, a protester was punched in the face as he was being escorted out by Cumberland County officers. Here’s what it looked like from a number of angles:
The protestor is a young African American man named Rakeem Jones. He came to the rally with four friends, “a “diverse” group that included a white woman, a Muslim, and a gay man, had gone to the rally as a “social experiment,” ” reported the Washington Post.
He said the woman with them started shouting once Trump’s speech began.
“She shouted, but at the same time, they were shouting too,” Jones, a 26-year-old inventory associate, said. “Everyone was shouting, too. … No one in our group attempted to get physical.”
Jones blamed the Cumberland County officers escorting him from the rally for failing to protect him—then detaining him instead of the man who attacked him.
Jones said the woman in his group began to shout once Trump began to speak. “She shouted, but at the same time, they were shouting too,” said Jones. “Everyone was shouting, too… No one in our group attempted to get physical.”
One of the things that was reportedly shouted at Jones’s group was, “You need to get the fuck out of there!” And, after Jones—who appears to flash his middle fingers as he’s escorted out—was punched by a man in a cowboy hat, someone in the crowd shouted, “Go home niggers,” according to Ronnie C. Rouse, who was with Jones and shot video of the occurrence.
It’s one thing for someone to be escorted out of a political rally for protesting, disruption. It happens all the time. But it’s an entirely separate thing for a protester to be escorted out and not be protected, then be “slammed” to the ground by officers and handcuffed, and singled-out for the color of his skin rather than his political opinions.
It was recently reported by Reuters that the man who punched Jones, a 78-year-old named John McGraw of Linden, North Carolina, has been charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct. (In related news, another man, Alvin (Al) Bamberger, 75, has issued an apology for shoving a young black woman at a different Trump rally.)
It has been a long time since we were forced to think about the electoral utility of violence in American politics, and racially inflected violence specifically… If he continues to encourage [violence] from the podium, is that something that just drives up the intensity of his support…or does that finally start to freak out Republican voters who might other wise support him?
We are a country that actually does have pseudo-Fascists and violent racists, black shirts and brown shirts, on the very far fringes of right-wing American politics. We do have persistent skinheads and neo-Nazis and and Klansmen. That persistent fringe variety of American monster, though, has never before been attached to and attracted to a front-running major party presidential campaign they way they are to Donald Trump.
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