President Donald Trump is facing a lawsuit. Again. In this case, Trump is accused of inciting violence at a March 16, 2016, campaign rally near Louisville, KY.
According to the complaint, after Trump saw a group of protesters in the crowd, he began to repeatedly say, “Get ’em out of here,” at which point they were then shoved and pushed by Trump supporters at the rally.
Trump’s attorneys presented a motion to federal judge David Hale of Kentucky that sought to have the case dismissed on the grounds of free speech. Hale rejected the motion thus allowing the lawsuit to continue in court.
In his ruling, Hale said, “It is plausible that Trump’s direction to ‘get ’em out of here’ advocated the use of force. It was an order, an instruction, a command.”
Does this mean that the plaintiffs will when their case against President Trump? Not necessarily, but there is enough evidence to present the trial to a jury so they can decide whether or not Trump’s statements can be construed as an incitement to violence to his supporters.
Of course, perhaps Donald Trump was speaking to the security at the venue when he said “get ’em out of here,” but that is for a jury to decide now.
The real question at hand is whether or not Trump could have reasonably assumed that people would have acted on his words to remove the protesters. And I believe the answer is yes.
When making broad and sweeping statements that are not specifically addressed to someone then you can reasonably assume that everyone who hears the order may follow it. Our words are important and we must always be cautious with what we say and how we say it.
The new president is learning that words are important. I feel this might be a hard lesson for someone who normally can only produce “word salad” when they speak.