- The Washington Times - Friday, June 3, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Anti-Trump protesters cornered a woman — a Donald Trump supporter — outside his rally in San Jose, California, Thursday night. Swarming her, screaming in her face, as she stood there and remained smiling. The protesters, mostly young men, were seen waving a Mexican flag, and then started pelting her with food and eggs before she entered into a hotel.

Here is an innocent woman, who is voicing her First Amendment right by supporting the presumed Republican presidential nominee, being attacked by an angry mob.

And yet, the press and some Democratic politicians are playing it off as if it’s Mr. Trump’s fault — like that’s just what’s to be expected at Trump rallies. Secretly, they’re probably also hoping for chaos in Cleveland. For the disruptions make for good stories, furthering their narrative that Mr. Trump is a bigoted, angry man who incites violence wherever he goes.

This is not OK.

For it’s the protesters that should be condemned — the ones actually perpetrating the violence and squashing others First Amendment rights. Yes, Mr. Trump at times serves heated rhetoric and his supporters can be agitators, but that’s never an excuse for violence.

Ben Howe, a contributing editor at Red State and vocal anti-Trump conservative, wrote on Twitter: “I don’t condone violence. But to pretend Trumpists & Trump himself haven’t cultivated a sub-culture of hatred & paranoia is delusional.”

To me, this rationale seems akin to “if a girl wears a short skirt, she’s somehow asking for it.” It’s placing blame on the victim, and in this case, the victim was the Trump-supporting woman.

Let’s pretend this same food-throwing interaction happened in a different setting. Let’s say it was on a college campus, where a group of fraternity brothers singled out a female collegiate — who may have been actively protesting to ban them on campus — surrounded her and started pelting her with eggs.

The outrage would be palpable, and action swift.

So should it be in this case.

Hillary Clinton should publicly denounce these angry mobs that collect outside Trump rallies. She should call on them to stop attending Mr. Trump’s rallies if they can’t peaceably demonstrate, and instead, take their anger out at the ballot box.

It’s not acceptable for her to stay quiet. Just as Mr. Trump has denounced violence inside the walls of his rallies by his followers, so, too, should Mrs. Clinton condemn violence outside his rallies by her supporters.

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