I’ve been saying it for a while now, the mainstream media, alongside the politicians running against Donald Trump on both sides, are creating the conditions in which it would be totally “understandable” if there were an attempt on Trump’s life. Seriously.
Think about it. First, they made Donald Trump the enemy of this race, albeit the butt of the jokes. Then the joke got unfunny. Mr. Trump started attracting serious support. And the primary victories came. And the other candidates dropped out. And now we’re down to just four. Three in reality. Subtract Rubio or Kasich at your discretion. Maybe you deduct both. We’re down to two.
Now Donald Trump is Adolf Hitler. Because people raise their hands at his rallies. THEY RAISED THEIR HANDS WHEN ASKED TO. That must make them Nazis. Forget that Mrs. Clinton’s supporters have done the same thing. Forget it. He’s Hitler. Heute America, morgen die Welt!
And as this week has drawn on it has become clear that Mr. Trump’s influence is being worked on by… passionate observers… to make it look like he and his campaign are the violent ones. Make what you will of that sentence, but I’ve been in the thick of a populist campaign before, and I know exactly how it feels to have to protect your “principal”.
That’s your boss. The head honcho. The prime target.
I was hired to be UK Independence Party Leader Nigel Farage’s senior advisor. I was supposed to be a sounding board for ideas, with a trumped up job title. In reality, I served as an extra member of his security team (though his team were and are absolutely fantastic, for the record).
So Mr. Trump, like Mr. Farage, has been portrayed as the progenitor of violence, despite the fact that Bernie Sanders supporters shut down his rally in Chicago last night. And despite the fact that someone tried to jump Mr. Trump on stage in Ohio today. The problem, to these people, is Mr. Trump. Not their own, barbaric, inbuilt (and often inbred) violent tendencies.
The truth is, no matter how much Mr. Trump’s team will tell you that today’s events won’t shake their resolve: it will.
When your principal is threatened: you start to change the way you operate – Secret Service or not.
Today’s incident, involving someone allegedly tied to ISIS, will lead to the following:
- More security screenings, before and after, for attendees of Trump rallies. This is a major issue because it will discourage attendees if word gets around as to how difficult it is to get inside any more;
- Greater distance between the crowds and Mr. Trump at the rallies. The Secret Service won’t mess around. And it won’t be up to the Trump campaign. What this means in reality is slightly altered optics. Not a huge issue for those in the hall, but a problem for the Trump comms team. They’ve gotta make it look like nothing has changed, gotta make it look like he’s still in the thick of people, while having 10 foot more between the stage and the fans. Not as easy as it sounds.
- Mr. Trump will be distracted on stage. As I’m sure Nigel Farage – for all of his gusto – was during the entire election campaign. Despite eggings, being hit with banners, having to evacuate pubs, being locked into pubs, being swept away by police, Mr. Farage kept up if not increased his campaign schedule. Which led to more dirty tricks (like Neo Nazis being snuck into his meetings by newspapers, so that they could photograph them inside and run a story about it – expect this too).
- Greater lead time between events, and more work for the advance teams. I know, this is “inside baseball” for political campaigners. But a lot of Trump’s lure so far has been this appearance of working on a shoestring. Of attracting thousands of people in a matter of days. It won’t be that easy anymore. Because it’s not just people jumping barricades that security teams will be concerned about anymore. It’s bombs. It’s weapons secreted in venues. It’s chemicals. You have no idea how much this can weigh on the operations teams.
And it’s quite clear who is to blame for all of this. Who will be to blame if Mr. Trump experiences anything close to what Democrat George Wallace – an actual segregationist and racist – did. Being shot four times. And never being the same.
It’ll be the fault of the Hitlerizing media. It’ll be the fault of the groups who shut down his events, and made him an easy target. And it’ll be the fault of those who would rather defend President Barack Obama’s record as the “first black president” instead of conceding that he has divided your country more than he has united it.
That he has used skin colour as means to rule.
And that he has given succour to the hard leftist groups within which he played out his own formative years.
As a journalist – sadly – we relish news stories like we’ve seen over the past 24 hours. As a human being, and as a former politico, I dread what I’ve seen. Something very bad could be about to happen.