Politics

Donald Trump has a history of endorsing violence against protesters

Hours before Donald Trump canceled a Chicago rally Friday amid a racially charged clash between protesters and his supporters, the New York real estate mogul taunted demonstrators whose shouting interrupted him in St. Louis.

“Go home and get a job,” Trump snapped at the Missouri protesters. “Go home to mommy.”

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For months, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination has used protester disruptions as a theatrical device at his raucous rallies in sports arenas across the nation.

“Get ‘em out,” he shouts, as he did in St. Louis. “Get ‘em out. Come on. Let’s go. Get ‘em out.”

Trump, who encourages his supporters to surround and shout down protesters with chants of “USA,” has openly pined for “the old days,” when, he says, noisy demonstrators would be carried out of a political rally on stretchers.

He sometimes urges crowds to be gentle with those getting kicked out of his rallies. He often does not.

“I’d like to punch him in the face,” he told a Las Vegas casino rally crowd last month when one protester was ejected.

A white Trump supporter did exactly that on Wednesday at a North Carolina rally, punching a black protester in the face as police led the demonstrator out of an arena in Fayetteville.

John McGraw, who was arrested Thursday, could be seen in phone videos that circulated online striking the protester. He told “Inside Edition”: “Next time we see him, we might have to kill him.”

McGraw was charged with assault and disorderly conduct.

The protesters, some of them affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement, have become more and more numerous. In St. Louis, they prevented Trump from speaking for long stretches of time.

“Missouri, I can’t believe this,” Trump said. “I can’t believe it.”

He also got impatient with the police.

“Where are the police?” he asked. “Come on, police, get ‘em out. Let’s go. Let’s go. Come on.”

Trump also criticized the protesters, saying they were “destroying our country.”

“These are not good people, folks, just so you understand,” Trump told the Missouri crowd. “I heard this was going to happen. They said, ‘Mr. Trump, would you like to cancel?’ I said, ‘Absolutely not.’ These are not good people.”

But he said, as he often does, that there was an upside to getting heckled.

“Can I be honest with you? It adds to the flavor,” he told his cheering supporters. “It really does. It makes it more exciting. I mean, isn’t this better than listening to a long boring speech?”

michael.finnegan@latimes.com

Twitter: @finneganLAT

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