Welcome to the 21st century American political scene, where an alleged attack on a homeless Hispanic man occurs, the suspect sites a political leader’s comments on immigrants as justification in talking to police — and where the candidate issues a tepid response. Forget ideology or party: there should have a total repudiation, blunt, unfettered repdiation of violence aimed at a SLEEPING person singled out to his ethnic group. Instead, there was a response as bland as boiled water.
The crime is shocking, the suspects’ comments troubling — the candidate’s response alarming:
A Boston man allegedly told police that he beat and urinated on a homeless man early Wednesday because the man was Hispanic, citing real estate mogul Donald Trump’s comments on undocumented immigrants as justification for the attack.
OK, Trump groupies and followers will say. That can happen with the followers of any candidate. A candidate can’t control what his supporters do. Fair enough:
In response, the Republican presidential candidate said that “it would be a shame” if his anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric inspired the beating. He immediately pivoted from the mild condemnation to praising his “passionate” supporters’ commitment to restoring America to greatness.
So there was: a)no condemnation of violence against others because of their ethnicity or group b)no statement that attacking people has no place in America c)no expression of sympathy for the poor guy who were merely sleeping.
Which folks are the lack of quality people in this story here? (Wait: I can just start hearing the spin on this now and those excusing a MAJOR candidate for a MAJOR party not taking just an extra minute minute to issue an unabashedly strong condemnation). Read more details:
Brothers Scott and Steve Leader pleaded not guilty to multiple charges in connection with the alleged attack, including assault with a dangerous weapon, indecent exposure and making threats, according to The Boston Globe. The men are being held without bail.
State police said the brothers were leaving a Red Sox game when they came across the 58-year-old victim sleeping at a metro stop, according to the newspaper.
A police report obtained by the Globe stated that the victim was woken up by two men urinating on his face and was then punched several times and hit with a metal pole. The victim suffered a broken nose and several bruises to his head and chest, according to the police report.
Police said Scott Leader, who was previously convicted of a hate crime for attacking a Moroccan man in the days after the 9/11 attacks, told them he targeted the victim because the man was Hispanic and homeless.
“Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported,” Leader allegedly told police, as quoted by the Globe.
Now, based on the Globe report alleging that the person was previously convicted of a hate crime, you cannot say Trump was responsible for this attack, but you can’t ignore the reported suspect’s words to the police. Even if they are repudiated or proven incorrect later, they should have elicited a “teachable moment” response from any responsible, serious candidate who wanted to make America great again.
A candidate who cared about people beating up and/or literally pissing on those they don’t like would have reacted like the officials in Boston:
Top Boston officials, including Mayor Marty Walsh (D), were quick to condemn the attack. Lawyers for the Leader brothers declined to comment on the charges, according to the Globe.
This case will be resolved in court. But the second Trump was asked by reporters he could have issued a statement that made it clear a)he does NOT want his name associated with violence or gross acts committed against other ethnicities or groups b)there is no place for this in America.
Instead, we got this:
Trump was asked Wednesday night at a campaign stop in New Hampshire whether he was concerned about inciting violence with his stump speeches, according to The Boston Herald. The billionaire said he hadn’t heard about the attack, adding that he thought it “would be a shame.”
“I will say, the people that are following me are very passionate,” he continued, as quoted by the Herald. “They love this country. They want this country to be great again. But they are very passionate. I will say that.”
Pissing on someone and hitting them with a bar isn’t passion.
It isn’t about making America great again.
It’s about making America hate again.
Whether or not you think Trump is a colossal cosmic joke inflicted on the body politic, the hatred he’s stoking is very real, and has very real consequences. This is apparently what Trump’s campaign is inspiring in some people, and I’m only surprised that it took this long to manifest.
“Making America greatly racist again” is a hell of a campaign slogan, Donny.
Donald Trump’s appalling reaction to a hate crime committed in his name – Vox http://t.co/5kr9fxhqc2
— Ivan Roberson (@Ivanroberson) August 20, 2015
Trump supporters beat a homeless man half to death citing Trump's views, and the best he can say is "my supporters are passionate." Trash.
— no, uh (@ZGhaoN) August 20, 2015
Trump on the two Boston men who viciously attacked and pissed on a Latino homeless man: "They love this country…they are passionate."
— Jeff Stalin Bezos (@onekade) August 20, 2015
This is a hate crime.. Donald Trump's campaign is literally fueling hate towards Mexicans & "Latinx" https://t.co/LIFbu4GiUp
— chicana (@POBREClTA) August 20, 2015
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.