When Trump blamed Pamela Geller for inciting violence

Donald Trump, who denies that his provocative and sometimes profane rhetoric (particularly against Muslims) has anything to do with violence and protests at his University of Illinois-Chicago rally, once blamed conservative activist Pamela Geller for provoking an attempted armed assault by – wait for it – unnecessarily provoking Muslims.

As Gideon Resnick noted last December in the Daily Beast, pre-candidate Trump was not as passionately concerned with Pamela Geller’s First Amendment free speech rights as he now is with his own:

On May 4 of this year, Trump tweeted: “The U.S. has enough problems without publicity seekers going out and openly mocking religion in order to provoke attacks and death. BE SMART.”

His declaration was in response to the news that two men attempted to shoot up the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas, during a “Draw the Prophet” event organized by Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI).

Geller and her group, which has been labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an “anti-Muslim hate group,” defended her First Amendment rights in the face of violence.

“Freedom of speech is under violent assault here,” Geller defiantly said at the time.

Donald Trump, the presidential candidate, would seemingly agree—he’s spoken a great deal about “political correctness” and his belief that free speech is under attack. But pre-candidate Donald Trump apparently felt otherwise.

“It looks like she’s just taunting everybody. What is she doing?” he told Fox & Friends. “Drawing Mohammed and it looks like she’s actually taunting people. You know, I’m one that believes in free speech, probably more than she does. But what’s the purpose of this?”

Pamela Geller “taunted” Muslims, said the man who is himself accused of taunting Muslims by proposing to ban all immigration until he figures things out.  The purpose of the Garland event, Mr. Trump, was to exercise her free speech rights, which, under the U.S. Constitution, if not sharia law, are not punishable by death.  Trump, who openly and generically mocks Islam and has threatened protesters with physical violence, says he is innocent of incitement while Geller was guilty.

Geller merely sponsored a cartoon contest.  Her supporter did not punch an African-American at her event, nor manhandle a female reporter, as his campaign manager is accused of doing to Michelle Fields.

Trump’s protestations of innocence concerning protests and violence at his rallies ring hollow.

Geller has endorsed Cruz for president and will no doubt be attacked for that, too, just as Trump attacked her for exercising her free speech in protest of Islamist threats and tyranny Trump claims to oppose.  Trump cannot invoke his free speech rights in defense of his inflammatory rhetoric when his interest in free speech seems to include only his own.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.

Donald Trump, who denies that his provocative and sometimes profane rhetoric (particularly against Muslims) has anything to do with violence and protests at his University of Illinois-Chicago rally, once blamed conservative activist Pamela Geller for provoking an attempted armed assault by – wait for it – unnecessarily provoking Muslims.

As Gideon Resnick noted last December in the Daily Beast, pre-candidate Trump was not as passionately concerned with Pamela Geller’s First Amendment free speech rights as he now is with his own:

On May 4 of this year, Trump tweeted: “The U.S. has enough problems without publicity seekers going out and openly mocking religion in order to provoke attacks and death. BE SMART.”

His declaration was in response to the news that two men attempted to shoot up the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas, during a “Draw the Prophet” event organized by Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI).

Geller and her group, which has been labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an “anti-Muslim hate group,” defended her First Amendment rights in the face of violence.

“Freedom of speech is under violent assault here,” Geller defiantly said at the time.

Donald Trump, the presidential candidate, would seemingly agree—he’s spoken a great deal about “political correctness” and his belief that free speech is under attack. But pre-candidate Donald Trump apparently felt otherwise.

“It looks like she’s just taunting everybody. What is she doing?” he told Fox & Friends. “Drawing Mohammed and it looks like she’s actually taunting people. You know, I’m one that believes in free speech, probably more than she does. But what’s the purpose of this?”

Pamela Geller “taunted” Muslims, said the man who is himself accused of taunting Muslims by proposing to ban all immigration until he figures things out.  The purpose of the Garland event, Mr. Trump, was to exercise her free speech rights, which, under the U.S. Constitution, if not sharia law, are not punishable by death.  Trump, who openly and generically mocks Islam and has threatened protesters with physical violence, says he is innocent of incitement while Geller was guilty.

Geller merely sponsored a cartoon contest.  Her supporter did not punch an African-American at her event, nor manhandle a female reporter, as his campaign manager is accused of doing to Michelle Fields.

Trump’s protestations of innocence concerning protests and violence at his rallies ring hollow.

Geller has endorsed Cruz for president and will no doubt be attacked for that, too, just as Trump attacked her for exercising her free speech in protest of Islamist threats and tyranny Trump claims to oppose.  Trump cannot invoke his free speech rights in defense of his inflammatory rhetoric when his interest in free speech seems to include only his own.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.