“With great power there must also come great responsibility,” reads the narration at the conclusion of Spider-Man’s 1962 origin story. The GOP should make Amazing Fantasy #15 mandatory reading, because the party’s presidential candidates have skipped this life lesson.
Known for divisive stances on immigration and Muslims in general, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump cancelled a Chicago rally on Friday night after several fights broke out between protestors and Trump supporters.
Trump responded to the incident the following day on Twitter:
“The organized group of people, many of them thugs, who shut down our First Amendment rights in Chicago, have totally energized America!”
He has definitely “energized” a faction of America:
Although it’s unfortunate the event turned violent, Trump’s previous rhetoric has made that an inevitability.
The real estate mogul has created an acidic environment which undeniably nurtures and encourages violence against protestors.
Last month, Trump told a Las Vegas audience “I’d like to punch him in the face,” as a protestor was removed from the event. On Wednesday, a Trump supporter did exactly that.
As protestor Rakeem Jones was being escorted out of a North Carolina rally, 78 year-old John McGraw can be seen sucker punching Jones in the widely circulated footage below.
“The next time we see him, we might have to kill him. We don’t know who he is. He might be with a terrorist organization.” McGraw told “Inside Edition” about Jones, a 26 year-old inventory associate.
Although the police wrestled Jones to the ground immediately, the white McGraw would not be arrested until the following morning. Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sean Swain has since told The Washington Post the situation is under an internal review.
McGraw has an April 6th court date. Luckily for McGraw, Trump has his legal costs covered. At least, going by the candidate’s words during a February Iowa rally, he does:
“So if you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. Okay? Just knock the hell – I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise.”
On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” host Chuck Todd asked Trump if he would keep that promise. He responded:
“I’ve actually instructed my people to look into it, yes.”
The effects of Trump’s hateful rhetoric aren’t isolated to his rallies.
Last August, two brothers, Scott and Steve Leader, were charged in Boston for beating up a 58 year-old homeless Hispanic man. “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported,” Scott Leader told police.
During a June speech announcing his candidacy, Trump infamously referred to illegal Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and drug runners.
And lest Muslims feel left out, Trump consistently attacks them as well, going so far as to advocate banning anyone of the religion from entering the country.
According to California State University San Bernardino college professor Brian Levin, hate crimes against Muslims tripled in 2015.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Ibrahim Hooper told NBC News: “This toxic atmosphere has been building for years. The Paris attacks, the San Bernardino attacks and Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric has caused it to erupt.”
During Trump’s Saturday rally in Kansas City, Missouri, the real estate mogul called for protestors who interrupted him to be arrested:
“I hope they arrest these people because they’re really violating all of us.”
Sorry, Donald. The First Amendment protects your freedom of speech from the government, not your protestors.
Trump had previously implied he would implement a federal libel law to use against the press for any piece he determines to be “purposely negative and horrible and false.”
While Trump riles up his supporters into falsely believing the Second Amendment is in jeopardy, he is literally telling us he will restrict our First.
Trump isn’t the only Republican candidate who has yet to learn the power and influence of the spoken word. They all do.
“I would encourage every American to watch these videos. See senior Planned Parenthood officials callously, heartlessly bartering and selling the body parts of human beings, and then ask, ‘Are these my values?’” Ted Cruz told CNN in November.
Cruz was discussing undercover videos that allegedly show the healthcare organization selling the body parts of babies. The story was quickly debunked. In August, a study of the videos by Fusion GPS found them to be heavily edited to the point that “they have no evidentiary value in a legal context.”
The video analysis would not prevent all remaining GOP candidates from still claiming the organization sold baby parts on the debate stage and campaign trail. Eventually the rhetoric would contribute to the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting.
Three people were murdered and nine were injured when 57 year-old Robert Dear opened fire on the clinic last November. At the time of his arrest, Dear told an officer “no more baby parts.”
After the shooting, Planned Parenthood quickly condemned the poisonous rhetoric spread by the GOP candidates.
The organization’s Executive Vice President, Dawn Laguens responded in a statement:
“One of the lessons of this awful tragedy is that words matter, and hateful rhetoric fuels violence.”
How many more reminders does one party need?