It has been a wildly tumultuous campaign for Donald Trump these past six months, and at this point, I don’t think anybody except Mr. Trump himself can really predict what exactly he is aiming for at each speaking event.
Nonetheless, I think we can probably safely assume that what ensued at his various speaking stops in Virginia and Georgia – his last in the state before heading into Super Tuesday – is NOT what he was going for.
Trouble began brewing in the morning at Radford University, where Trump spoke to thousands of supporters. His speech was interrupted multiple times by Black Lives Matter activists, who were eventually removed in a scene that can only be described as maddeningly tense.
Chanting “No more hate! No more hate! Let’s be equal, let’s be great!” was apparently too much for Trump to stomach, and they were immediately removed.
As they were being escorted out, Trump can be heard saying, “Get them out,” calling the activists “the enemy” and even said to one demonstrator, “Are you from Mexico?”
Video footage of the incident shows a visibly angry crowd with a mob mentality towards the small group of peaceful demonstrators.
As they were being escorted out of the facility, Christopher Morris, an award winning photographer with Time magazine, briefly stepped beyond the press pen to snap photos of the activists and was violently choked and assaulted by Trump’s Secret Service security detail.
Secret Service agent choke slams reporter pic.twitter.com/jdsHOlylSB
— Joe Perticone (@JoePerticone) February 29, 2016
A few hours after Radford University, Trump traveled to Valdosta College in Georgia to give a similar stump in the state he is expected to also win.
Before Trump even ascended the podium, roughly 30 African American students at the college were removed for no apparent reason, leading most to speculate that Trump preemptively picked them out for fear they might be protesting him.
Even more incredulous is that the group – in their own words – had no intentions of coming to protest, agitate, or otherwise be a thorn in the side of Trump’s speech. They earnestly wanted to hear the GOP frontrunner since he was on their campus.
“We didn’t plan to do anything,” said a tearful Tahjila Davis, a 19-year-old mass media major, who was among the Valdosta State University students who was removed. “They said, ‘This is Trump’s property; it’s a private event.’ But I paid my tuition to be here.”
VSU students being kicked out for absolutely NO reason before Donald Trump makes his presence. pic.twitter.com/bOwnwvCkuN
— Ocho Boomin' (@UGWavy__) February 29, 2016
MORE VIDEO of the Valdosta students who were asked to leave Trump event before his speech began. pic.twitter.com/NQL05R1O57
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) March 1, 2016
Despite a vehement denial of racial profiling from Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks, it is objectively difficult to imagine a plausible alternative as to why these students were all removed concurrently, especially given the College’s longstanding history of segregation and adherence to Jim Crowe. Rather than clear the air, the Trump campaign is blaming the university and denying any involvement on their behalf.
Your 2016 GOP front-runner, America. 2016.