Despite encouragement from Mr. Trump himself, the Donald’s
supporters basket of deplorables seemed recently to have tempered their penchant for violently assaulting peaceful protesters. Over the past few days, however, they have quickly returned to form, and Monday night’s rally in Asheville, NC was no exception.
While there were numerous attacks on protesters and the police have arrested five Trump supporters – with warrants out for two more – the most egregious assault occurred outside after the rally. That is when 69-year-old Shirley Teter, who uses an oxygen tank, was punched in the face by a Trump supporter whom the police have identified as Richard Campbell of Edisto Island, SC.
According to Teter, the situation was relatively “comical” until she tossed a jab referencing Trump’s ties to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin that apparently struck a nerve with Mr. Campbell. “I said ‘you better learn to speak Russian’ and I said the first two words are going to be ha ha.’ He stopped in his tracks and just cold-coked me,” Teter said in an interview with local news station WLOS. She was punched in the face, fell on her oxygen tank, and suffered sore ribs, a sore jaw, and a cut elbow. She was taken to a local hospital and says that she is lucky she did not break any bones.
Mrs. Teter has been protesting her whole life, stretching back to the Vietnam War era, and she became re-involved with political activism this campaign season because she saw Trump as “another situation that was sickening [her] heart.” She says that never in all her years of protesting has she been physically assaulted, which speaks to the shocking virulence and anger of Mr. Trump’s inexplicably aggrieved supporters.
There is tremendous hypocrisy in the fact that Trump supporters, who project their own macho notions of self-grandeur onto their candidate, are so cowardly as to assault an old woman with an oxygen tank. They rail against the ‘constantly offended liberal’ but apparently cannot handle a well-deserved insult without resorting to violence. Trump has acted like a schoolyard bully throughout his campaign and he apparently intends to run the country as one as well, so perhaps we should not be so surprised that his supporters resort to violence at the first sign of an opposing opinion, but it paints a very frightening picture of what America would become under a Trump presidency.
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James DeVinne is a student at American University in Washington, DC majoring in International Service with a focus on the Middle East and South Asia. He is a founding member of Occupy Baltimore and interns at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.