Trump Repeatedly Interrupted In Raleigh Speech

Candidate Interrupted on 14 Separate Occassions, Cuts Speech Short

On Friday, December 4th at a campaign rally in Raleigh, NC, Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump was interrupted 14 times by protesters. His speech, which lasted about 50 minutes was interrupted at five to 10 minute intervals by people shouting slogans opposing racism and facism. No one was arrested but all the protesters were escorted out of the rally by police. The Trump campaign has shown concerns about protesters by not allowing people into some of their events.

I started watching a livestream when Sopan Deb, who describes himself as@SopanDeb On the 2016 campaign trail and the Trump/Rand Paul/Graham beat for” tweeted the sixth interruption, 30 minutes into the speech. In the end I counted a total of 14 interrruptions by protesters throughout the speech.

NBC News reported “Some held signs — ‘Stop the Hate, We Make America Great’ and ‘Dump Trump’ — while others chanted ‘Black Lives Matter.'” Another protester chanted “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascism in the USA” and another “All Lives Will Matter, When Black Lives Matter.”  The Hill reported that “The business mogul said the protesters were coordinated in their effort to ruin his rally, saying they are ‘individual people, but they’re all friends. They all want to make havoc.'”

Trump’s speech focused heavily on building the strongest military in the world, with Trump claiming doing so will prevent anyone from challenging the United States. Of course, the reality is the US already has the strongest military in human history and far outspends any nation on weapons and war. So, what he intends to do beyond the extreme military spending that already exists is unclear. But, the Trump fans in the crowd seemed to love it. Trump protester escorted from Raleigh areana 12=4=15

Trump has escalated his foreign policy comments regarding terrorism after the recent events in Paris and San Bernardino and seemed to suggest the United States should go after the wives, sisters and families who commit terrorist acts. Discussing the 9/11 attacks Trump said “Most of them went back to Saudi Arabia. Those wives knew what their husbands were going to do. We never went after them, we never did anything.” He was not clear about what he meant by those comments.

Another major focus was the wall to keep foreigners from crossing the US border. Trump explained how he would build a 90 foot tall wall made of steel and concrete and that Mexico would pay for it.  Again, the crowd went wild.Trump protesters leave Raleigh rally, five escorted by police NBC News December 5, 2015

Near the end when he was taking questions someone said Merry Christmas, and Trump threw in that he would make sure Merry Christmas is brought back to stores when he is president. Again, the crowd applauded. 

When a little girl said she was afraid and what would Trump do to protect her, he responded that when he is president “you’re not going to be scared anymore. They’re going to be scared.”

CBS reported that the rally ended abruptly 15 minutes shorter than his normal stump speech”; and NBC reported that the Trump “ended his rally-turned-town-hall suddenly and earlier than usual. The full event lasted less than an hour, a rarity for a candidate who usually stumps for at least an hour and who spoke and took questions for almost two hours a few nights earlier in Manassas, Virginia.” 

The protests continued throughout his speech even as he was beginning to wrap up his speech was interrupted. Trump responded calmly and jokingly but as the protests continued he became more irritated.Trump protester screamed at in Raleigh 12-4-15

Trump is not the only candidate to be interrupted by protests this year. All the Democrats and several other Republicans have been interrupted by protesters. However, no one else has had 14 interruptions in one protest.

The Democrats responded by reaching out to Black Lives Matter organizers, meeting with them, hearing their concerns and sharing their thoughts. The protests of Democrats have stopped, for now.  

Trump said in his speech in response to one interruption that he believed if he spoke with the protesters they would understand where he was coming from but it remains to be seen whether he will seek such a meeting.

Are these protests effective? They certainly do get the message out through the media that people are upset with the way a candidate is responding to an issue of concern. On the Democratic side, it did lead to the candidates hearing the concerns of Black Lives Matter and changing their rhetoric. They have sometimes taken over the event and made their issues the focus of reporting.

The protests come at an interesting time in Trump’s campaign. He has his largest lead ever in the polls and a leaked memo shows that the Republican Party leadership is concerned that he may become their nominee. The memo from the Republican National Senatorial Committee describes Trump as “a misguided missile” and says he “is subject to farcical fits.” The documents along with public comments by Republicans indicate concern about the impact of his diviseness over race, ethnic and women’s issues on the Republican brand in congressional contests as well. Perhaps meeting with people from Black, Latino and women’s groups would be a way for Trump to allay those concerns, if he fails to do so those concerns will heighten as protests are likely to increase.