Everyone knows that Donald Trump wants to “make America great again.” On a variety of policy fronts, that slogan is the GOP front-runner’s only firm proposal. But Trump has never explained when, precisely, America was great – until Monday night.
On the eve of the Nevada caucus, Trump revealed that he wants to bring America back to the “old days,” when mobs could beat protesters senseless without facing any legal consequences. According to NBC News, activists repeatedly disrupted the mogul’s rally in the Silver State on Monday, shouting condemnations of his “hate speech” against Muslims. Eventually, Trump decided that if the people wanted to hear some hateful speaking, he’d give them hateful speaking.
“He’s smiling. See, he’s having a good time,” Trump said of a protester who was being escorted out by guards. “Oh, I love the old days, you know? You know what I hate? There’s a guy, totally disruptive, throwing punches, we’re not allowed to punch back anymore. I love the old days, you know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out in a stretcher, folks. Oh, it’s true.”
Trump went on to complain that “the guards are very gentle with him,” before saying, “I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell you.”
Multiple security personnel at the event told Politico that the ejected protester threw no punches and that Trump was “over-exaggerating.”
This is hardly the first time that Trump has suggested mob violence as an appropriate means of countering dissent. Shortly after Black Lives Matter protesters disrupted a Bernie Sanders rally last August, Trump pledged that if such activists interrupted one of his events, he would have them beaten.
“That will never happen with me,” he said at a press conference. “I don’t know if I’ll do the fighting or if other people will.”
Three months later, at a Trump rally in Alabama, other people did the fighting. Days later, Trump defended their actions. “Maybe he should have been roughed up,” he told Fox News, referring to the African-American protester whom his supporters had beaten. “It was disgusting what he was doing.”
At a rally in Vermont in January, he ordered guards to confiscate protesters’ coats before throwing them out into the cold. In February, Trump instructed a crowd in Iowa to “knock the crap” out of protesters who were trying to throw tomatoes at the stage.
At various points in his campaign, Trump has also tried to suppress critical speech through blackmail and litigation. Last month, the mogul threatened to sue Texas senator Ted Cruz for simply reminding voters that the Donald used to be pro-choice.
Donald Trump may disagree with what you say, but he’ll defend to the death his right to have you beaten, sued, or blackmailed for saying it.