Last week, a white Trump supporter in North Carolina was filmed punching black protester Rakeem Jones as he was being escorted from the event. Since that incident, hostilities between Trump followers and detractors have increased. On Friday night, the billionaire abandoned an event in Chicago citing security concerns, and similar circumstances also led to the cancellation of a Trump rally in Kansas City on Saturday.
— Chris (@stokith) March 13, 2016
Critics have repeatedly called on Trump to tone down his divisive rhetoric, but the billionaire has so far refused to acknowledge that his comments contribute to the violence.
Authorities in North Carolina, however, have threatened to take matters into their own hands. The Cumberland County sheriff’s office has confirmed that it may press charges against Trump over last week’s punching incident.
"We are continuing to look at the totality of these circumstances…including the potential of whether there was conduct on the part of Mr. Trump or the Trump campaign which rose to the level of inciting a riot," reads a statement from the sheriff’s office.
— Eli Rosenberg (@EliKMBC) March 13, 2016
Gilbert Baez, a reporter with local WRAL, told MSNBC that investigators carefully analyzed a speech made by the billionaire on the night of the incident.
"During their analysis of that speech, there were several instances where Trump made comments that incited the folks to continue the violent acts during that rally," he said.
Trump has remarked that he might pay for the attacker’s legal fees and, if the issue escalates, he may have to call in his own attorneys, as well.
On Saturday, the billionaire was nearly the target of violence himself. During a rally in Ohio, one protester attempted to storm the stage as Trump took to the podium. Secret Service swarmed the visibly alarmed candidate and the man was detained.
While some made light of the situation…
— Armen Changelian (@ArmenChangelian) March 14, 2016
…others took the threat to the billionaire’s safety as a deadly serious issue. Hours after the incident, a group of Trump supporters launched a Twitter group claiming to be "an informal civilian organization dedicated to protecting the safety and security of innocent, peaceful Trump supporters from violent Far-Left agitators."
A post on the now-deactivated account added that "we are unarmed, but willing to forcefully protect people if need be. We are *defensive*, *protective* of innocents who are being beaten and harassed for their political views."
It seems unlikely that that protection would have extended to protester Rakeem Jones.
Still, if The Lion’s Guard is serious about protecting their candidate, the Internet has offered up a number of suggestions as to how the militia uniform should look.