The Hill (Opinion)
By Bill Press
March 14, 2016
It’s as old as the proverbs. Hosea 8:7: “For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” It’s a lesson you’d think Donald Trump would have learned a long time ago, since he says the Bible is his second-favorite book. Obviously not. But it’s a lesson the front-running GOP presidential candidate is learning the hard way.
Let’s be honest. The violence flaring out at Trump’s campaign rallies is no accident and no surprise. The only surprise is that it took this long to erupt. After all, his campaign has been fueled by hate from the very beginning, ever since he floated down the escalator to call all Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals.
Trump himself refuses to take any responsibility for the violence, nor is the billionaire making any effort to tamp it down, insisting he’s a “uniter,” not a divider. His supporters, meanwhile, are quick to blame anybody but Trump: the protesters themselves, the media, the weather, ISIS — even Bernie Sanders! On CNN, I heard one Trump supporter condemn the protesters as “racists” and “bigots.”
Nonsense. The No. 1 racist and bigot at Trump rallies is the man on the stage. Note that there’s been no such violence at campaign events for Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio or John Kasich, nor for Sanders or Hillary Clinton. It’s only happening at Trump rallies. Why? Because he enflames and incites it. We’ve all heard him do so.
This is the man who has boasted he’d like to personally punch a protester in the face, who taunts, ridicules and verbally assaults protesters at his events and who laments the good old days when crowds would just beat up protesters. He says he’d like to see some of those protesters carried out on a stretcher.
Words have consequences. No doubt, some sickos in a Trump crowd hear those hate-filled words and feel justified in taking matters into their own hands.
Who will ever forget the video of white, 78-year-old John McGraw leaving his seat at a rally in Fayetteville, N.C., to sucker punch a young black protester being led out by police? McGraw, later charged with assault, expressed no regrets: “The next time we see him, we might have to kill him.” And Trump told NBC’s Chuck Todd he might still pay for McGraw’s legal defense.
Amid fears that the violence will only escalate out of control — Rubio predicts it won’t be long before a protester loses his or her life — it’s amusing to see establishment Republicans suddenly sound the alarm. Super-PACs are running ads against Trump. Party poobahs are stepping up to condemn him. Other candidates now tell voters: “I don’t care who you vote for, as long as you don’t vote for Donald Trump.”
What the hell were they waiting for? Did they really think if they ignored Trump he’d just go away? The time to repudiate Trump was at the very beginning of this campaign cycle. Now there’s little the party elite can do to deny him the nomination, and there’s nothing they can do to stop the violence.
Only Donald Trump is responsible for the violence. And only he can end it.
Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of “Buyer’s Remorse: How Obama Let Progressives Down.”
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