Donald Trump showed the world just what he thinks of campaign event interruptions from Black Lives Matter activists this weekend.
The Republican presidential candidate* was speaking at a campaign event in Birmingham, Alabama, on Saturday when a Black man—identified by the The Washington Post as Mercutio Southall, Jr., a regionally-regarded activist—interrupted, shouting "Black Lives Matter!" Trump addressed the interruption by saying, "Get him the hell out of here, will you, please?" Then several Trump reporters surrounded Southall and attacked him after he was knocked to the ground. A video shot by CNN’s Jeremy Diamond shows white men seemingly pushing and punching Southall:
A black protester at Trump’s rally today in Alabama was shoved, tackled, punched & kicked: https://t.co/Aq0wuaAtax pic.twitter.com/cTRDMtjuBl
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) November 21, 2015
The Post also reports that a man put his hands around Southall’s neck. Southall was eventually escorted out by security, but not before other Trump supporters shoved and berated him. Crowd members booed and cheered, with some chanting "All Lives Matter."
In an interview with AL.com, Southall said that people also called him the N-word:
"They said ‘Go home, n****r,’ and somebody punched me,” Southall said. "I punched back. You know don’t do the turn-the-other-cheek [expletive]."
He said people encircled him, and he was being pushed and punched from every direction. Someone hit him from behind, and the next thing he knew, he was at the bottom of pile [sic]. He was kicked in the stomach, and the chest, both men and women. "I got enough people off of me that I was able to get up a little bit,” he said. "Somebody got behind me and started trying to choke me out."
Trump had no sympathy for Southall. On Fox News the next day, he said (as quoted by The Washington Post) that Southall had what was coming to him:
“Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing,” Trump said on the Fox News Channel on Sunday morning. “I have a lot of fans, and they were not happy about it. And this was a very obnoxious guy who was a trouble-maker who was looking to make trouble.”
“He was so obnoxious and so loud, he was screaming,” Trump recounted in the Fox News interview on Sunday. “I had 10,000 people in the room yesterday, 10,000 people, and this guy started screaming by himself.”
Trump spoke on ISIS and Syria at the rally, explaining his desire to increase surveillance on both Syrian refugees and undocumented immigrants—which is something that Southall took issue with:
Southall said he attended today’s rally because of Trump’s disparaging remarks about minorities—blacks, Latinos and most recently Muslims. "Birmingham is 75 percent black, so why did he choose to come here,” Southall said. "He could have gone to Mountain Brook or Hoover, I know they have the venues that can handle his rhetoric."
In other Trump news, the leading Republican presidential candidtate tweeted a racist, fabricated chart about Black people and crime on Sunday. ThinkProgress breaks down some of the sad media coverage of the tweet and chart.
(H/t The Washington Post, CNN, AL.com)
*Post has been updated since publication.