An “informal advisor” to the Trump campaign defended the violence at Trump events by dubiously suggesting that Trump rallies are just like Ronald Reagan’s.
Following the CNN debate last night, The Kelly File discussed Trump’s less-than-condemning remarks about violence at his rallies. We also saw footage of an African American protester getting punched in the face as he was being escorted out. The assailant said, “We don’t know who he is but we know he’s not acting like an American. …Yes, he deserved it. The next time we see him, we might have to kill him.”
Guest Barry Bennett, an “informal advisor” to the Trump campaign called the incident “unfortunate” but tried to compare Trump to Ronald Reagan.
BENNETT: I go back to Reagan rallies in ’84 at Ohio State. They were dragging protesters down the aisle. I mean, it’s always been a problem. Obviously Donald Trump has been a target for these protesters. They don’t come there to peacefully protest what he’s saying. They come to cause trouble.
Kelly wasn’t buying it. She asked, pointedly, “What is the evidence of people at the rallies trying to cause physical violence?” She noted that “in a couple of instances” protesters stand up and speak only to get physically accosted. “You can see the violence, you can see the anger, the anger at some of the protesters,” she added.
Kelly showed video of one man in a red hat shouting in fury as protesters were escorted out. “Trump is on camera repeatedly saying they should have punched him in the face,” she said, meaning the protester. Quoting Trump, she continued, “In my day, they would have gone out on a stretcher.”
Chris Stirewalt, Fox News’ digital politics editor nailed it. He didn’t just call out Trump but the other Republican candidates who let him off the hook when the subject came up at the debate.
STIREWALT: When you say that somebody ought to get punched in the face, a protester ought to get punched in the face and somebody gets punched in the face, we can’t pretend that these are totally disconnected items.
I thought, in this debate, I was stunned, shocked that Cruz and Rubio both whiffed on that question. Kasich didn’t take it up. They all ducked that question because instead of saying Donald Trump has created an atmosphere in which he incites people to greater rage, and he talked about (it) in a seemingly understanding way, that he said it was because of bad trade deals or whatever but that people are angry and sometimes it’s going to spill out. That those guys on that stage didn’t take Trump to task on that, I thought was reflective of an overall weak performance on everybody’s part when it came to holding Trump to account.
Kelly said it embodies why Trump has been so successful: “They’re scared of him, they’re scared of alienating his supporters.”
Later, Bennett again tried to excuse the violence by saying, “The crowds are angry because America is angry and I guarantee you’re going to see this thing through the fall. People are so upset.”
But Kelly wasn’t buying that either. “I’ve hosted this show for many years and I understand how Republican voters feel,” she said. But “when the candidate, who is very powerful and very beloved in that crowd, says the stuff he says, I mean, you tell me whether Trump needs to do better than that, he needs to do better than that.”
Apparently, Bennett does not think so. “I agree with you, Megyn,” he began, “but you can walk into any VFW, American Legion or tavern across America in a small town and find 15 people like that. They are so angry that no one is fighting for them and they are willing to do it themselves. Now, you know that’s not Donald Trump’s doing but certainly Donald Trump has tapped into that anger.”
I can just imagine the 24/7 squawking that would go on at Fox if even one protester’s life was threatened at a Hillary Clinton rally. And considering Kelly’s outrage at a member of the Congressional Black Caucus for engaging in a “hands up” Ferguson protest, her lack of same toward Bennett was disappointing, to say the least. But I think she and Stirewalt did the right thing here and I give them props for that.
Watch it below, from the March 10 The Kelly File, and let me know what you think.
“Meaning what? Trump also has diminished capacity due to Alzheimer’s disease?”
LMAO! OUCH!! That’s going to leave a mark on “Der Furor”!
Meaning what? Trump also has diminished capacity due to Alzheimer’s disease?
If so, that might explain a few things — and be just one more reason (as if more were needed) — why Drumpf must never enter the White House, except on a public tour . . .
Again, I have to say I’m getting sick of hearing right wingers lying to cover up the misdeeds of people with whom they agree.
The fact is, we can repeatedly see video of protestors being pushed, punched, attacked and threatened in a hateful manner by Donald Trump supporters at his events. This is not just a matter of a protestor being removed from an event, or being told to be quiet. This is a situation where protestors are physically attacked and threatened and Trump’s fans don’t seem to think there’s any problem with it. Because, you know, they were asking for it, right? Because Trump says they started it. Because Trump now says that the protestors are the ones being violent – even though the video plainly shows the opposite. But who do you believe – Donald Trump or your lying eyes? And now we have Rush Limbaugh just this morning sticking up for the guy punching the protestor in this video because, hey, he was an elderly guy who just couldn’t take it any more – you know, all the awful liberal crap and all that, so why shouldn’t he punch this guy? It’s frankly sickening to hear people justify violence, particularly when they do it in such a gleeful and mean-spirited fashion. (And this isn’t the first time we’ve gone through this – one right wing friend of mine was openly happy to see Chicago cops beat the crap out of protestors back in the day – he hated them anyway and loved seeing them get their heads kicked in.)
Let’s call this what it is and be honest about it: It’s hate speech, racism and hate violence. Donald Trump encourages it because it fires up his fan base. His fans love that Trump lets them get away with it – they can let their inner racist fly and nobody tells them no. And right wing media looks for excuses to not call this what it really is. Yes, Kelly noted that Trump needs to “do better”. Yes, Stirewalt correctly noted that Trump is responsible for fanning these flames. But where is the outrage? Where is the counter to Bennett or Limbaugh saying that the violence is understandable because these people are just so angry these days? Where’s the challenge that says – why are they so angry? Is it because they’ve been hearing a nonstop diet of vicious attacks over the past 8 years? Is it because they never wanted to have a black President in the first place? Is it because they believe every ridiculous thing that Limbaugh spouts on his show or Hannity or O’Reilly scream on theirs?
This is yet another example of the negative impact that both Fox News and right wing radio have had on our culture and on our politics. For 20 years, Fox News has actively practiced the encouragement of hate speech on its airwaves. For 30 years, Rush Limbaugh has done the same on his radio show, once he realized it was a shtick that could make him wealthy. For decades, they have demonized anyone with whom they disagreed, sometimes in nakedly racist terms. For decades, they’ve been telling their listeners and viewers that the non-right wing guy in the room isn’t just a person with another opinion. They’ve been feeding the notion that this other person is EVIL and is coming to take your stuff away from you. Fox News and right wing radio have actively led the movement away from discussion, compromise and negotiation. They’ve led the movement toward denial, refusal and obstruction. They’ve provided phony statistics to reinforce their biases, and they’ve given excuses to their viewers to engage in racist behavior. Because, hey, Trayvon Martin started it, didn’t he?
Over and over and over again, we hear nonsense like the talking points that Ted Cruz prattled last night on CNN, once again trotting out the notion that President Obama was on “an apology tour”, that he’s weak, that he doesn’t believe in our military or our police. (Something that if spoken about W. Bush by a left winger would have had that person accused of outright treason by Fox News in 2008) But since they keep repeating it over and over and over again, the listeners and viewers start thinking that it’s true. And then we’re supposed to believe that Fox News is surprised that Trump voters are acting out in violent and racist ways?
The right wing does not get to hide from its responsibility for fomenting this violence. They do not get to pretend that they didn’t just spend 20 years riling up their viewers and listeners with low level hate speech. Trump’s voters didn’t come from out of nowhere. They’ve been listening to Limbaugh and watching Fox News for years.