During a Donald Trump campaign rally in Birmingham, Alabama, video shot by a CNN reporter shows Trump supporters huddled around a Black Lives Matter activist as they bludgeon the man while shouting slurs.
The activist, Mercutio Southall Jr., was curled up on the ground while being kicked, punched and choked by people at the event after speaking out for the Black Lives Matter movement. In the past, activists were primarily seen at Democratic events and were dealt with curtly but peacefully. After seeing how Republicans deal with black activists, it’s clear to see why they steered clear of the GOP rallies.
Southall told ThinkProgressive what was going through his head during the attack.
“I can’t die today,” Southall said. “I’ve got (vulgarity) to do. I have little kids. F— these people.”
While being beaten, Southall heard the mob shouting things like “n—–,” “monkey” and “all lives matter.”
“So, for all the people who are still confused at this point, they proved what ‘all lives matter’ meant,” Southall said. “It means, ‘Shut up, n—–.’”
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) November 21, 2015
You would think that, in response to such a brutal outbreak toward one man at a rally, a presidential candidate would shame those who beat a man while he was down. Instead, Trump condoned the actions of his followers.
“[The protester] was so obnoxious and so loud,” Trump told the hosts of “Fox & Friends” the following day. “Maybe, he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.”
For a man who talks about freedom of speech and making America “great again,” his actions show a pattern of institutional oppression that would make Hitler proud. After all, according to a “Vanity Fair” interview, wife Ivana Trump once told her lawyer that Trump kept a book of Hitler’s speeches by his bed.
And, what’s infinitely more terrifying than Trump himself are the waves of support he gets. Police involved in the incident at the rally have even come out saying shockingly Jim-Crow-era–esque phrases.
“I would be a little cautious with Mercutio Southall,” Birmingham Police spokesperson Lt. Sean Edwards told CNN. “He has been an agitator from day one. Mercutio is always the agitator.”
Southall, whose family marched in Selma generations ago, told ThinkProgressive that America has not come very far from the racial injustices Martin Luther King Jr. and company had to face half a century ago. The contrast from then and now is only marked by black and white photos.
“I was being choked right in front of a Birmingham police officer, and all he did was try to stop me from hitting the man who was choking me,” Southall said.
What will it take for us as a country to realize that Trump is not fit to be president? To egg on attacks on a black activist at his own rally shows how much tyranny he’d be willing to let slide in his “great America” and how unreliable and undiplomatic he is overall.