After Donald Trump excoriated me for our free speech event in Garland, Texas, Donald Trump expressed frustration on having to cancel his rally in Chicago on Friday night in a phone interview on MSNBC.
“It’s a little bit sad when you can’t have a rally in a major city in this country … What ever happened to freedom of speech? What ever happened to the right to get together?”
You were taunting the fascists, Donald.
Flashback: Donald Trump said, “I watched Pam earlier, and it really looks like she’s just taunting everybody. What is she doing drawing Muhammad? I mean it’s disgusting. Isn’t there something else they could be doing? Drawing Muhammad?…They can’t do something else? They have to be in the middle of Texas doing something on Muhammad and insulting everybody? What is she doing? Why is she doing it? It’s probably very risky for her — I don’t know, maybe she likes risk? But what the hell is she doing?”
I wasn’t surprised that Rubio blamed Trump because he is a shallow political animal, but I was surprised and disappointed that Cruz did. I understand that he is playing to win, but it undermines his integrity. Very bad move, Ted. Hugely disappointed in him. Ted backed us after Garland, so why not continue his principled stance on the First Amendment, especially the most protected speech, political speech?
Freedom of speech is the foundation of a free society. Without it, a tyrant can wreak havoc unopposed, while his opponents are silenced.
Putting up with being offended is essential in a pluralistic society in which people differ on basic truths. If a group will not bear being offended without resorting to violence, that group will rule unopposed while everyone else lives in fear, while other groups curtail their activities to appease the violent group. This results in the violent group being able to tyrannize the others.
“Protesters cheer when Trump rally canceled, jeer supporters,” Associated Press, March 12, 2016:
CHICAGO (AP) — Hundreds of jubilant protesters chanted victory cries and jeered at glum Donald Trump supporters as they filed out of an auditorium where the Republican presidential candidate abruptly canceled a campaign rally Friday night.
Outside, the tenor of hourslong protests shifted when one protester passed on word of the cancellation through a megaphone on the campus of the ethnically diverse University of Illinois at Chicago. The crowd roared in delight and began chanting: “We stopped Trump! We stopped Trump!”
The protesters closed in on the building, obstructing most of the exits just as Trump supporters began filing out. The Trump supporters had little choice but to push through the anti-Trump crowds that parted only slightly, yelling, “Racists go home!”…
“Cruz, Rubio and Kasich criticize Trump for creating ‘environment’ for Chicago protest,” by David Weigel, Washington Post, March 11, 2016:
One night after declining to criticize Donald Trump’s rhetoric toward the protesters at his rallies, his rivals for the Republican nomination, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio), all criticized the Republican front-runner.
Rubio, who is camped out in his home state in advance of the March 15 primary, told Megyn Kelly of Fox News that Trump was finding out that his “words have real consequences.” But roughly half of Rubio’s analysis was a criticism of the political left. After stating his appreciation for Chicago’s police, Rubio said that the protests needed to be put in context.
“This is Chicago, protesters are an industry,” he said. “It is clear, just from watching some of these images, that this was an organized effort, an orchestrated effort, from groups that wanted to disrupt this event, and Chicago is a hub for that sort of activity. I would also say that people have a right, whether you disagree with someone or what he’s about to say – and I certainly disagree with Donald Trump on many things, it’s why I’m running against him for president – you don’t have a right to take away the First Amendment right of people to speak freely. I think you’ve seen some of this on college campuses recently. There was an article, not long ago I think, that [conservative commentator] Ben Shapiro tried to speak on a campus, and they basically shut him down. So I think this is crossing over into the broader society, and it’s problematic.”
With that said, Rubio criticized Trump for his well-documented mockery of the people who interrupted his rallies.
“I wouldn’t say Mr. Trump is responsible for the events of tonight,” said Rubio, “but he is most certainly, in other events, has in the past used some pretty rough language, saying in the good old days we used to beat these people up, or I’ll pay your legal bills if you rough them up. So I think he bears some responsibility for the general tone.”
As Rubio was wrapping up, Cruz was standing outside a dinner event in Rolling Meadows, Ill., for an impromptu press conference. He took a harsher tone, significantly stepping up what he’d said to radio host Hugh Hewitt earlier that night.
“The responsibility for that lies with protesters, who took violence into their own hands. But in any campaign, responsibility starts at the top. Any candidate is responsible for the culture of a campaign. And when you have a campaign that disrespects the voters, when you have a campaign that affirmatively encourages violence, when you have a campaign that is facing allegations of physical violence against members of the press, you create an environment that only encourages this sort of nasty discord,” Cruz said, citing an event in Florida that had already led to a criminal complaint, but not heretofore been mentioned by a rival candidate….
Asked if Trump should have gone ahead with the rally, Cruz paused for a moment, then said the decision should have been based on public safety.
“But I think a campaign bears responsibility for creating an environment when the candidate urges supporters to engage in physical violence, to punch people in the face,” said Cruz. “The predictable consequence of that is that it escalates, and today is unlikely to be the last such instance. We saw, earlier today, in St. Louis, over 30 arrested. That’s not how our politics should occur. You know, the city of Chicago in 1968 saw some ugly days, when politics descended into hatred and incivility and even violence. It is my hope that in 2016 we can appeal to our better angels, to avoid going down that road once again.”…
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, whose scheduled MSNBC town hall was pre-empted by the Chicago chaos, issued a statement late Friday night that pinned the blame on Trump himself.
“Tonight the seeds of division that Donald Trump has been sowing this whole campaign finally bore fruit, and it was ugly,” said Kasich. “Some let their opposition to his views slip beyond protest into violence, but we can never let that happen. I urge people to resist that temptation and rise to a higher level….