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Donald Trump and the First Amendment

I’m seeing more articles like this one by Jeffrey Lord complaining that Donald Trump’s First Amendment rights were violated when he had to cancel a rally in Chicago for fear of violence. (Note that Lord wrote a book advocating for Donald Trump, which isn’t acknowledged in the linked NewsBusters article.) This is not a First Amendment case. The text of the First Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment says Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech. As far as we know, there were no Congressmen at the Trump rally and they certainly did not pass a bill related to freedom of speech. The people who disrupted Trump’s rally were members of radical leftist groups, including some claiming to operate under the banner of Bernie Sanders. The Bernie Sanders angle prompted Donald Trump to threaten retaliation:

Did Congress or any other branch of the federal government abridge Donald Trump’s freedom of speech? No. Are Donald Trump and supporters of Bernie Sanders acting or threatening to act to prevent people from speaking freely? Yes. You should think about this before voting for either Trump or Sanders, since if either wins the presidency he and his supporters will head the executive branch of the federal government and you may find yourself on the wrong end of their view of free speech.

I’m also seeing articles like this one from Clarice Feldman that claim the other presidential candidates are throwing in with the radical Left if they don’t mount a full-throated defense of Donald Trump. This is absurd. The Left has long used violence and the threat of violence to suppress political speech. Trump responds to this by encouraging his supporters to commit violence in return. This is morally wrong, though you’d expect that from someone with no morals. Again, this is not a First Amendment issue. The other candidates are saying that it’s wrong for Donald Trump to respond to the Left’s violence with more violence.

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