After his rallies in Arizona this weekend were marked by protests and violence, Donald J. Trump on Sunday complained of a “double standard” in coverage of those incidents and defended his campaign manager after video showed the manager grabbing a demonstrator by the collar and yanking him backward during a rally in Tucson.
The Tucson rally included one of the most violent confrontations yet at a Trump appearance, when a protester being escorted out of the arena by the police was sucker-punched, knocked to the ground and repeatedly pounded and kicked by a Trump supporter.
Asked about the incident on ABC’s “This Week,” Mr. Trump allowed that the beating was “a tough thing to watch,” but he refused to condemn the assault. He offered harsher words for the victim, saying he had been accompanied by another protester provocatively wearing a Ku Klux Klan costume.
“At what point do people blame the protesters?” he said, calling them “professional agitators.”
Mr. Trump also complained about a roadblock by protesters who sought to prevent his supporters from reaching a rally outside Phoenix on Sunday.
“I think it’s very unfair that these, really, in many cases professional, in many cases sick, protesters can put cars in a road blocking thousands of great Americans from coming to a speech, and nobody says anything about that,” Mr. Trump said, adding: “It’s a very unfair double standard” and that the protesters had been holding “horrible, profanity-laden signs” in the background as television cameras recorded his speech.
Mr. Trump added that police officers and security guards in the Tucson arena had been “a little bit lax.”
While it is true that a few protesters initiated violence, the vast majority of violence at Trump rallies is from Trump supporters. Trump, on multiple occasions, has defended violence against protesters, encouraged violence against protesters, and promised violence. It stands to reason that it is Trump’s actions and behavior that creates an environment where violence against protesters is acceptable.
According to the Washington Post the man in the Klu Klux Klan hood was a friend of the protester who was attacked, and it is not exactly clear what the intention of the protest was. Trump should stay away from a guilty-by-association fallacy with the KKK, with his family ties to the Klan and being in the same political party with David Duke and all.