Hundreds of left-wing protesters formed a gauntlet outside President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, last Thursday, forcing Trump supporters to walk through on their way to the SNHU Arena, and endure taunts of “shame” and “KKK.”
The tactic is similar to one used by left-wing rioters outside the San Jose Convention Center in June 2016, when Trump supporters were assaulted in full view of the media as they attempted to leave the event.
There was apparently no violence in Manchester, thanks in part to the left’s use of so-called “peacekeepers,” who were monitors wearing orange or yellow jerseys. But police — who otherwise did an outstanding job — allowed the gauntlet to form, risking potential confrontations.
Police officers set up a perimeter immediately around the SNHU Arena, but no further, allowing protesters to come face-to-face with Trump supporters. Two officers stood at the end of the gauntlet, apparently monitoring what was happening and conversing with the “peacekeepers.”
The goal of the “gauntlet” tactic appears to be to intimidate and humiliate Trump supporters — and to reflect a sense of moral superiority among Trump opponents.
A secondary goal may be to provoke Trump supporters into responding with violence. That was the goal of Democrat operatives in the 2016 campaign, who smuggled activists into Republican events and deliberately sought to spark violence that they would then capture on camera, providing footage for national media coverage.
There is no record of conservative protesters doing anything similar at Democratic political rallies.
Regardless, the “gauntlet” may soon be a regular addition to the left’s protest tactics.
President Trump has pushed back against efforts by his critics to claim there were empty seats at the arena. Fire officials have confirmed that there was a near-capacity crowd of 11,500 people inside the SNHU Arena, and 8,000 more people outside.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.