|Hudson River Park, by the helipads, May 7, photo by me. Couldn't find a relevant picture I liked, and it's my blog.|
Some sidelight on that ghastly moment at the Trump airport rally in Redding, California yesterday, with the full Trumpian text lightly edited from C-Span—
It begins, for starters, with Trump riffing on how protestors are handled at the typical Trump rally, lying a good deal—
WHEN WE HAVE A PROTESTER INSIDE WHICH IS NOT VERY OFTEN I SAY A VERY GENTLE. PLEASE DO NOT HURT HIM. TAKE CARE OF HIM AND HE WANTS TO SHOUT. IF HE PUNCHES YOU IN THE FACE SMILE AS -- AS YOUR NOSE IS POURING BLOOD OUT OF IT. A VERY NICE.—and giving voice to that body fluid obsession. And then he starts to tell a story,
WE HAD A CASE WHERE WE HAD AN AFRICAN AMERICAN GUY WHO WAS A FAN OF MINE, GREAT FAN, GREAT GUY. I WANT TO FIND OUT WHAT IS GOING ON WITH HIM.Thinking about that African American of the First Instance reminds him, he's got one right here. As if he thought they probably know each other. Like, "I want to find out what is going on" with the hero of the story, and this guy is of a similar color?
LOOK AT MY AFRICAN AMERICAN OVER HERE, LOOK AT HIM. ARE YOU THE GREATEST? YOU KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT ? OK.Trump's African American is Gregory Cheadle, Republican candidate for the California 1st Congressional District (in the state's mountainous northeastern corner, with a population that is 1.7% African American), against the incumbent Republican Doug LaMalfa and two Democrats, on a fearlessly anti-slavery program (he calls himself an "1856 Republican"). He also backs the 2nd Amendment, even though it makes him kind of sad:
“It’s painful to say that these bullets, these assault weapons and so-forth, they’re killing kids,” Cheadle continued. “That’s the price of freedom.”Lucky Gregory doesn't have to pay the price, but it's not his fault. He used to be a kid. I just thought it was particularly funny that this opponent of slavery seems so pleased to be a personal possession of the presidential candidate:
Update 6/5: Cheadle doesn't in fact support Trump, though it's not clear if there's anybody he likes instead. He's not Trump's African American after all.
Anyway Trump gets back to his story:
WE HAVE AN AFRICAN AMERICAN GUY AT ONE OF THE RALLIES AND HE IS SITTING THERE BEHAVING AND WE HAD PROTESTERS INSIDE THE ARENA. THEY WERE DRESSED IN A KU KLUX KLAN OUTFIT AND THEY ARE RUNNING AROUND DRESSED AS THE KLAN AND THE PLACE IS BOOING.
THIS AFRICAN AMERICAN GETS UP AND HE SLUGS THESE GUYS. BY THAT TIME THEIR HAT WAS OFF BECAUSE IT GOT RIPPED OFF BECAUSE THEY WERE RUNNING UP THE STAIRS BUT THIS GUY, A GREAT GUY, I THINK HE WAS A MILITARY GUY FOR A LONG TIME.This is at a rally in Tucson, on March 19. There's a pretty good piece on the whole affair by Robert Mackey at The Intercept.
HE SLUGGED THIS GUY WEARING THE KU KLUX KLAN OUTFIT. BY THE TIME HE GOT UP TO THE TOP YOU COULD NOT SEE IT WAS A KU -- KU KLUX KLAN OUTFIT, WHEN THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COLD COCKED THIS GUY, IT WAS LIKE THIS GREAT GUY, WE HAVE TREMENDOUS AFRICAN-AMERICAN SUPPORT.
You can see quite clearly from the video that the protestors consist of a woman in a possibly patriotic T-shirt and very ineptly constructed Klan hood making a Nazi salute and a bareheaded man in a collared and long-sleeved American flag shirt, no hood at any time, carrying a sign ("Bad for America"), and getting marched out of the rally by security officials when the attacker jumps him, rips the sign out of his hands, then knocks him to the ground and starts stomping. Not "cold cocking" by any description—just as violent, but much warmer.
THE REASON IS I WILL BRING JOBS BACK TO OUR COUNTRY. WE WILL BRING JOBS BACK BUT WHEN THESE SLEAZY PEOPLE, THESE DISHONEST PEOPLE WHO NEVER SHOWED THE CROWD, WHEN THEY SHOWED THAT EVENT, IT MADE IT LOOK LIKE THE WHITE GUY WAS ON MY SIDE.Not at all. It's clear that you have "your" African American there. And you just wrecked one black guy's good government job by inciting him to this, as Mackey relates:
After initially saying, “We want to do it with love — we love our protesters,” [Trump] abruptly switched tone and snapped: “Get them out of here.”Because the African American has a name, Staff Sgt. Tony Pettway; he's a response force leader assigned to the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, and he's been booked for misdemeanor assault, after being put in handcuffs and carted off. The woman in the improvised Klan hood was also cuffed and taken away and booked for misdemeanor assault, although as far as I can tell she did nothing but point out the assailant to the authorities.
Then, as the two protesters were directed up the stairs of the convention center, past rows of the candidate’s booing supporters, an excerpt from the raw video posted on YouTube by KGUN shows that Trump focused the crowd’s anger on them. Mistaking the hooded woman for a man, he said: “There’s a disgusting guy, puts a Ku Klux Klan hat on, he thinks he’s cute. He’s a disgusting guy. That is a disgusting guy. Really disgusting — a big wheel. A big wheel.”
This is not going to be good for the next phase of Pettway's 20-year military career:
"We are reviewing the situation, fully cooperating with local authorities, and will take appropriate action," said Capt. Casey Osborne, a spokesman for the 355th Fighter Wing.It's funny to think of Trump "wondering what's going on" with Sgt. Pettway when it's really not very difficult to find out something. Doesn't sound as if he's offering to pay Pettway's legal expenses as he's done with some of his white goons, either.
All Defense Department members may participate in the political process "in their personal capacity without implying any endorsement from the DoD," she said.
"We believe wholeheartedly in our fellow Americans' rights to express their views on political issues, and we strongly condemn any attempt to silence those views through force or violence," Osborne said.
Tony, if you see this, consider I'm an old white hippy Clinton supporter 4,000 miles away who thinks you're an asshole and I just proved I still care about you more than your Mr. Trump does.
See this report at Think Progress for some more of Mr. Trump's African Americans—the ones whose pictures he stole from the 27th annual Midwest Black Family Reunion (August 2015) to pretend they were his supporters.