Hours before anti-Trump protesters attacked Donald Trump supporters outside the San Jose Convention Center on Thursday evening, potential third-party “#NeverTrump” candidate David A. French tweeted that Trump “incites violence.”
The leaders of the party that ended slavery now endorse a man who bullies women, lies habitually, and incites violence. My heart breaks.
— David French (@DavidAFrench) June 2, 2016
French did not respond immediately to events in San Jose, and has not yet responded as of this writing, roughly 12 hours later.
Trump came under criticism in March for his comments at rallies where he encouraged fans to punch back at protesters, even promising to pay the legal bills of one supporter who sucker-punched a protester who was already being led away by police. That Trump supporter was arrested and charged with assault, as were others.
On Thursday night, however, Trump made a deliberate show of reacting differently, encouraging fans to leave protesters alone, and telling them that hecklers could stay inside the venue.
At the first interruption, for example, Trump said: “Now, leave him alone. We’ve gotta be nice.”
“Don’t hurt him. See the way I say that? I’ve learned. Don’t hurt him.”
Outside the hall, as supporters left, several were beaten or pelted with eggs and bottles. Anti-Trump protesters even pursued attendees to their cars and hunted, in the words of one local journalist, like “prey.” One officer was assaulted before police regained control of the situation around the perimeter of the convention center. Breitbart News witnessed Trump supporters thanking police for protecting them.
Trump’s Democratic opponents both condemned the violence shortly after it was reported. The mayor of San Jose, however, blamed Trump, telling the Associated Press: “At some point Donald Trump needs to take responsibility for the irresponsible behavior of his campaign.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new e-book, Leadership Secrets of the Kings and Prophets: What the Bible’s Struggles Teach Us About Today, is on sale through Amazon Kindle Direct. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.