By Miriam Raftery
Photos: Left: Trump in San Diego by Shor Masori, courtesy of San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Association. Right: Police in riot gear, courtesy of Nadin Abbott,Reporting San Diego. Cover: Protesters, by Nadin Abbott.
May 28, 2016 (San Diego) –Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke to a crowd of several thousand people at the San Diego Convention Center yesterday, while a crowd estimated by police at at least 1,000 people protested outside. The protesters included representatives from labor, the Democratic Party, Mexican Americans, Muslims, women’s rights advocates and an array of progressive groups who urged that voters oppose Trump's divisive politics.
Trump sounded his familiar themes denouncing illegal immigration and calling for a wall, slammed trade deficits with Mexico, China and other nations, said he would eliminate Common Core in education, inexplicably claimed California has no drought, called media “bloodsuckers” and bashed Judge Gonzalo Curiel, an Obama appointee set to hear a civil fraud trail in San Diego after the election over the now defunct Trump University.
“I love you San Diego—get out and vote,” he concluded. (View video of Trump speech on CSPAN.)
San Diego Congressmen Duncan Hunter were recognized by Trump for their military service. Helix Water Board member Kathleen Coates-Hedberg (photo, left, from her Facebook page) was among Trump supporters from East County at the rally.
Former Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin made a surprise appearance, criticizing President Obama’s appearance in Hiroshima .
Outside, the assemblage was largely peaceful until after the rally dispersed, when witness accounts indicate Trump supporters in the Gaslamp began shoving and taunting people. Bottles were throw and police declared an unlawful assembly, donning riot gear to clear the crowd, pushing them some two miles all the way back to Barrio Logan, according to Reporting San Diego.
According to the San Diego Police Twitter feed, 35 people were arrested; there were no injuries or property damage reported. Arrests ranged from protesters who attempted to breach a secured area to a controversial arrest of San Diego City Attorney candidate Bryan Pease.
Video shows Pease, holding a campaign sign, backing away from a police line while videotaping officers. View video of officers knocking Pease to the ground; see screenshot, right, off 10 News Facebook post. The action seems counter to Senate Bill 411 signed into law last year by Governor Brown, the ”Right to Record Act” that guarantees Californians have the right to record police in a public place in a reasonable, non-interfering manner. Pease told 10 News he was “falsely arrested” along with 20 others.
Before Trump’s rally, prominent speakers denounce his candidacy. (View video from Democratic Party on Facebook and see screenshot from Jess Durfee, former party chair, left.)
County Democratic Party Chair Francine Busby stated ,”San Diego has a very diverse population. We embrace our diversity… In San Diego we do not villify…We reject Donald Trump’s divisive, hateful rhetoric.”
Former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, called Trump “unfit, unstable, and simply unqualified to be the President of the United States..He’s tapping into anger. He’s tapping into underlying racism and he’s tapping to the very worst of America.”
Fletcher, a veteran, added that “There is no one who would be worse for veterans” than Trump. He accused Trump of lying about raising $6 million for veterans’ charities and noted that Trump wants to privatize the Veterans Administration. “He wants to make sure those who sacrificed so much will not be taken care of when they return.” He added that Trump got multiple deferments to dodge military service in Vietnam, yet mocked former prisoner of war John McCain.
“We can’t afford a man who is going to cast veterans aside” and divide Americans on the basis of gender, race, or religion,” Fletcher concluded. “We have a choice between those who would seek to divide us and those who would seek to unite us.”
Trump is running on a slogan of "Make America great again" but some protesters contend that his agenda would "Make America hate again." (photos, right, from journalist Nicole Sours Larson's Facebook page .)