As someone who attends a lot of public events, I detest hecklers. They are rude and annoying, and I have no problem with them being escorted from a venue so that people can hear the person they came to hear. Generally, when the speaker is a politician, they tend to stand politely while the offending party is removed, or make a lighthearted quip in response to whatever dumb leftist protest slogan is being chanted at them, and that is fine as well.
One of the things that has been getting some media attention lately has been the behavior of Trump supporters while protesters are being escorted out. Trump has encouraged his fans to just chant “Trump!” to drown these people out, and I have no problem with that, either. To the extent that his followers get violent with protesters, I tend to not hold Trump personally responsible, although of course it would be ideal if he encouraged people not to resort to actual physical violence towards protesters.
This, though, is something else.
Trump: We’ll get more and more angry as we go along, is that okay? [crowd cheers] And by the end I’ll say, “Get them the hell out of here!” And then, by the way, by that time, the security will be so tough and so nasty, and you know what’s going to happen when that happens? You’re not going to have any more problems. You’re not going to have any more problems. Did you notice the first group, the security guys are going, “Oh, please come with us,” and they’re screaming, “please come.” Alright. Second group, they’re [unintelligible]. Now, the last time they’re starting to get nasty. Pretty soon they’re going to get so nasty that we’re not going to have any more protesting, you know that, right? Don’t give him his coat! Don’t give him his coat, keep his coat, confiscate his coat! You know, it’s about ten degrees below zero outside.
Yeesh. Maybe it is just me, but I would think that a guy who intentionally resorts to as much bombast as Trump ought to expect that he’s going to get more protesters than the average politician, and adjust his expectations accordingly. But more than that, it’s kind of chilling to hear Trump talk about how nasty the security presence is going to get and then they’re not going to have any problems, and the audience cheers lustily. I mean, if this spectacle doesn’t make the country as a whole at least a little uneasy, then I’m more than a little concerned about the future of democracy in this country. And no, that is not an exaggeration.