Email #120, Subject: “the words themselves are repulsive”

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?

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

One thought on “Email #120, Subject: “the words themselves are repulsive””

  1. Thank you for the post. I am beyond knowing how to comment on these people. It’s as if we have been commandeered by a gang of thugs, running amok throughout the Administration. I read an article today in Roanoke Times saying we should not call them Racists so I’m saying there is a lot of people with severe mental illness having a National party at tax payers expense.


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