“My nose is broken. I have bruises and scratches all over. I got knocked in the head a lot,” San Jose’s Juan Hernandez, 38, told me. He suffered a mild concussion. That’s the price Hernandez paid for attending the infamous Donald Trump rally in San Jose last week at which protesters were seen burning flags and Trump hats, pelting a supporter with an egg and mobbing people who were doing what civics teachers tell students citizens are supposed to do.
For his trouble, Hernandez was called names, beaten and bloodied. For dessert, he got to hear politicians suggest it was the fault of his candidate that thugs beat him up. When liberals are on the receiving end, this is known as blaming the victim.
Hernandez does not fit the stereotype of a Trump supporter. He is gay (and a proud member of Log Cabin Republicans) with Mexican roots. He likes Trump’s aggressive way of talking, although he thinks the billionaire could be a bit more refined as, for example, when Trump criticized the “Mexican” judge presiding over a lawsuit against Trump University. He knows Democrats who don’t like that he’s Republican. Now that he’s pro-Trump, Hernandez confided, “I have more people against me than I did when I came out as gay.”
Talking by phone just before he attended a rally designed to goad San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (a Hillary Clinton supporter) and police Chief Edgardo Garcia “to accept” responsibility for failing to protect Trump supporters, Hernandez described what it was like to leave the Trump rally with a friend. The police presence had dissipated. He saw protesters pick out supporters and sucker punch them. Then he spied six or seven men. “As soon as I locked eyes with them, I knew we were next.”
Hernandez determined to protect himself by making sure he did not fall down; then the mob would start kicking him.
“They allowed the police to just stand there,” said Hernandez. The chief says police were right to maintain the “skirmish line.” The mayor issued a statement promising authorities will investigate and prosecute offenders. Liccardo assured me city officials are “looking for ways to do better.”
Hernandez says that detectives have shown him photos of suspects; he believes they’re serious about arresting and prosecuting violent protesters. Police already have arrested four offenders. The San Jose Police Department is soliciting more information from witnesses. Liccardo told me he expects more arrests shortly.
That’s all good, but it’s not good enough. It’s time for Democrats to stop blaming Trump when left-wing activists pummel his supporters. Liccardo denied that he blames The Donald, even as he offered up his “underlying concern” that Trump’s “divisive rhetoric will encourage thugs.” Clinton likewise faulted Trump for “inciting violence.” Bunk.
Trump is responsible for making pro-illegal immigration activists and others angry, but he is not responsible if they choose to intimidate, even beat up, his supporters.
When you call Democrats on their absolution for thugs, they dutifully protest that they do not approve of violence. I don’t think they’re angry with left-wing activists for throwing punches. Methinks their real objection is, as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told the Los Angeles Times, violent protest is “a tactical mistake.”
Debra J. Saunders is a columnist for Creators Syndicate.
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