The Associated Press warned Thursday that “many fear” that a rally by President Donald Trump in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this weekend could “spark violence.”
It is the same tactic used by Trump’s opponents in 2016, when the left rioted against him in several cities, and local authorities blamed Trump for the violence, saying his mere presence had provoked the mob.
In June 2016, as reported by Breitbart News, there were riots in San Jose, California, as radical left-wing demonstrators burned the American flag outside a speech by then-candidate Donald Trump.
Then, as Trump supporters left the arena, the rioters attacked them — in full view of the media — by pelting them with eggs, pelting them with bottles, punching them to the ground, and smashing their cars.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) June 3, 2016
Mayor Sam Liccardo (D), who had ordered police to keep a distance, thus allowing the violence to take place, blamed Trump: “At some point Donald Trump needs to take responsibility for the irresponsible behavior of his campaign,” he said, as if the Trump campaign had caused attacks on its own supporters.
The left had, in fact, targeted Trump and Trump voters for months.
In March, left-wing protesters in Chicago, Illinois, threw debris at Trump supporters trying to enter an arena where Trump was trying to speak. One police officer noted that “protesters were running through parking lots and breaking windows of cars with Trump stickers on them.”
The rally was canceled — but Trump’s opponents blamed him, saying that he had created the “environment” for the riots.
There were other riots throughout the primary campaign, including unrest in San Diego and Alberquerque, New Mexico.
In the latter case, local officials blamed the left for “fomenting hate”: “The violence that we’re seeing this evening is absolutely unacceptable, and it is not the fault of Donald Trump, his campaign, or the attendees at the rally this evening.”
Elsewhere, however, many found it easier to blame Trump and to justify rioting against him and threatening his voters.
The Associated Press report on Tulsa suggests that it is Trump’s rally at the downtown BOK Center, the first after the coronavirus shutdown, that would cause violence — rather than the presence of Al Sharpton, who will address an anti-Trump rally in the city on Friday, the day before Trump’s address, and who has a history of encouraging riots.
The AP quotes a “community organizer” calling Trump’s visit “inflammatory.”
It adds that Democrats have said Trump should not visit the nearby Greenwood district, where black Tulsans were attacked in an infamous race riot on May 31 and June 1, 1921 — 99 years ago. Democrats said earlier that the fact that the 1921 riot happened should stop his address from taking place at all.
The AP accompanied its article about Democrats’ complaints with a photo of a church burning during the 1921 riots. Trump moved his event one day later.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.