Does Donald Trump know or even care about what he is doing?
During a Trump rally in Birmingham, Alabama last Saturday, a local black activist, Mercutio Southall Jr., who reportedly has been frequently arrested in protest demonstrations, interrupted the rally with shouts of “Black lives matter!”
Nothing new there. Practically every presidential candidate, Republican and Democrat, has, at one time or another, experienced disruptions at campaign events.
Trump’s Alabama rally was different, however, and he made it so.
“Get him the hell out of here, will you, please” Trump said, referring to Southall. “Get him out of here. Throw him out.”
In an ensuing skirmish, Southall reportedly fell to the ground, was surrounded by several white people who punched and kicked him. As security officers led Southall out of the building, he was repeatedly pushed and shoved by people in the crowd.
Trump, unlike most other candidates, sanctioned the crowd’s behavior.
Said the Republican front-runner on Fox News Channel on Sunday morning about Southall and the assaulting crowd: “Maybe he should have been roughed up.”
That is how the Sturmabteilung, also known as the ‘Storm Troopers’ or Brownshirts got their start. They were the bullies formed by Adolf Hitler in Germany in the 1920s to defend his rallies. They, too, “roughed up” people, push and shoved, and threw out Hitler’s rivals, all with the future German Chancellor’s approval.
Trump’s assigned Secret Service detail apparently isn’t enough for him. Making protesters at his rallies pay with their bodies seems fine with him, too. Does Trump know that his campaign may be modeling a horrible example?
Does he even care?