Violence and populism are like peanut butter and jelly. While you can have them separately, they just seem like they were made for one another. And Trump’s populist campaign is no stranger to violence, as we’ve seen time and again, and the most recent example of that is Chicago.
Trump is intentionally fanning the flames of violence. But he can’t admit that, so instead of accepting it himself, he blamed Bernie Sanders for what happened in Chicago. Now Sanders has fired back in a truly memorable response, and he obliterated Trump in the process.
“He is a pathological liar”
On Friday, the Trump campaign was forced to abandon plans for a rally in Chicago after protesters showed up, en masse, and there were outbreaks of violence instigated by the thugs who support Trump against the protesters who’d shown up against him.
How do I know that Trump’s supporters caused it? Call it a well-educated guess (a concept Trump’s supporters are familiar with, surely). I mean, it’s not like we haven’t seen this happen before. I feel epistemically sound in my assumption that white nationalists and Neo-Nazis are comfortable instigating violence.
In response, Trump blamed Sanders and his supporters for the violence on Saturday during a Dayton, Ohio, rally. He told the crowd that:
What happened yesterday was incredible. We dealt with law enforcement. So good, good. We love our police. Do we love our police? But we dealt with law enforcement at level. Secret Service, great. The whole group and it was determined that if we go in, it could cause really bad vibes. And you have to understand; they want me to tell my people, please be nice, be nice. My people are nice. The people that came there are so nice. And let me tell you, the people that came there that were invited there. Thousands and thousands of people. They caused no problem. They were taunted. They were harassed by these other people.
These other people. By the way, some represented Bernie, our communist friend. Now really, Bernie should tell his people. There weren’t too many Hillary people there. You know why. I mean in all fairness to Bernie, the reason there no Hillary people, they have no fervor. There’s no fervor. Say what you want about Bernie, at least, they have a little bit of fervor. Right?
But with Bernie, he really should get up in front of his people and tell them to stop. Stop.
Now, leaving aside the absolutely mind-blowing hypocrisy of this statement – Trump is the one who’s been talking about punching protesters after all, not Sanders -it promoted a legendary response from Sanders, who utterly demolished Trump:
As is the case virtually every day, Donald Trump is showing the American people that he is a pathological liar. Obviously, while I appreciate that we had supporters at Trump’s rally in Chicago, our campaign did not organize the protests.
What caused the protests at Trump’s rally is a candidate that has promoted hatred and division against Latinos, Muslims, women, and people with disabilities, and his birther attacks against the legitimacy of President Obama.
What caused the violence at Trump’s rally is a campaign whose words and actions have encouraged it on the part of his supporters . He recently said of a protester, ‘I want to punch him in the face.’ Another time Trump yearned for the old days when the protester would have been punched and “carried out on a stretcher.’ Then just a few days ago a female reporter apparently was assaulted by his campaign manager.
When that is what the Trump campaign is doing, we should not be surprised that there is a response.
What Donald Trump must do now is stop provoking violence and make it clear to his supporters that people who attend his rallies or protest should not be assaulted, should not be punched, should not be kicked. In America people have a right to attend a political rally without fear of physical harm.
That’ll leave a mark, but Trump’s thugs won’t understand it. Too many big words, I’m afraid.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons