SAN JOSE (CN) – Violence erupted in the streets of San Jose following a downtown Donald Trump rally Thursday night as supporters of the Republican presidential candidate clashed with protesters.
Supporters of the presumptive nominee were punched, chased and pelted with eggs as the crowd of about 3,000 filed out of the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. Some of them also had their hats stolen and burned.
The tension was high from the beginning of the event, as a large crowd of protesters congregated outside barricades, with some verbally accosting supporters as they entered the auditorium. Reports say there were about 300 to 400 protesters outside the rally.
Outside after the event, the verbal confrontations became more frequent, many of which devolved into physical altercations. Riot police were eventually deployed to disperse the angry mob.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo issued a statement implying Trump’s divisive message is partly responsible for the violence.
“While it’s a sad statement about our political discourse that Mr. Trump has focused on stirring antagonism instead of offering real solutions to our nation’s challenges, there is absolutely no place for violence against people who are simply exercising their rights to participate in the political process,” he said.
Inside, Trump addressed a throng of supporters hitting on his familiar campaign notes of building a wall at the southern border, ripping up deals he considers poor, like the Iran nuclear deal, rethinking the U.S. military commitment to longtime allies like NATO and Japan, and using negotiating skills to get better trade deals for United States workers.
The presumptive Republican nominee also lashed out at Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, widely expected to be Trump’s opponent in the general election.
Clinton delivered a speech in San Diego on Thursday morning, where she questioned whether Trump had the necessary temperament to lead America’s foreign policy outreach and effectively manage relationships with other foreign powers.
“Hillary today, it was pathetic,” Trump told the crowd, which erupted in boos. “It was supposed to be a foreign policy speech, it was a political speech. It had nothing to do with foreign policy.”
The Republican candidate also hinted that if he became president, Clinton would face jail time related to the ongoing email scandal.
“If I win, everything will be fair, but I am sure the attorney general will take a good look at it,” Trump said during his speech, also telling the crowd Clinton belongs in jail.
Trump also dedicated a considerable amount of time to rather rambling explanations of his side of the story in recent controversies. One was an article published in the New York Times about his previous relationships, professional and personal, with women. Another article in the Washington Post questioned whether he actually donated money to veterans groups, as he claimed.
Trump denounced both papers as “disgusting” and said he was being unfairly portrayed.
“I do things wrong and the press writes badly about me, I can handle it,” he told the crowd. “But when I do good things and they turn it around on me, you have to stand up.”
He saved most of his vitriol for the Washington Post, which he said Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bought to intimidate politicians from going after Amazon for their “monopolistic practices.”
“They’re putting retailers out of business folks,” Trump said.
While Trump has repeatedly been accused of being short on policy proposals, he did say that he would tax companies that leave America 35 percent on every product they sell back to the country as a deterrent for leaving.
He also vowed to appoint a new U.S. Supreme Court justice “as close to Scalia as we can get.”
Yet it was the general pronouncements of “making America great again,” building the wall, and a promise to build a bigger, better and stronger military that garnered the most applause from Trump’s supporters on Thursday night.
Photo courtesy of Noah Berger/Associated Press.
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