Donald Trump is being sued for inciting violence. Three protestors were shoved and punched by his supporters at a Kentucky campaign rally last March. The assaults were recorded on video. One of the supporters later apologized, admitting that he “physically pushed a young woman down the aisle toward the exit” after “Trump kept saying ‘get them out, get them out.” Another supporter has attempted to hide the fact that he belongs to a white nationalist group and was at the rally because he believes Trump shares his views.
Trump’s lawyers say he didn’t mean for them to use force, but the judge saw more than enough evidence that the assaults were a direct result of Trump’s violence-inciting words: “It was an order, an instruction, a command.” Trump’s lawyers also tried to hide the fact that the crowd shouted racist and sexist slurs at one of the protesters. The judge said: “While the words themselves are repulsive, they are relevant to show the atmosphere in which the alleged events occurred.”
As you know, the landmark 1997 Supreme Court case Clinton v. Jones established that a sitting President can be sued in civil court for events that took place before his taking office. As a result, our country will now watch as President Trump defends himself for inciting a white supremacist to punch a black woman.
As chair of the House Judiciary Committee, you said that it is your “solemn responsibility to ensure our laws are fair, efficient, and enforced” and that you wish to ensure that our laws “are designed to appropriately punish wrongdoers, are effectively and appropriately enforced, safeguard civil liberties, increase public safety, and work as efficiently as possible.” This case then should be of great interest to you.
You have also been outspoken when you have disagreed with federal judges’ opinions—most recently condemning the judges who struck down the President’s immigration bans. What then is your opinion of Judge David J. Hale’s rulings that reject all of the President’s attempts to block this lawsuit? In your opinion, did Donald Trump commit a crime when he incited violence at his rally?