7 Times Trump Should've Supported Safe Spaces

If there's one thing you don't typically associate with President-elect Donald Trump, it's calls for decorum, respect, and apology. Well, maybe that last part isn't quite right ― the perpetually inflammatory and eternally unapologetic future commander-in-chief does demand apologies on a semi-regular basis, indulging a hypocritical streak that's truly astonishing to watch. And after his Vice President-elect got booed at a showing of Hamilton, he provided everyone with a phenomenal example by arguing that the theater wasn't a "safe" space for Mike Pence. Here are seven times Trump could've supported safe spaces, but didn't, because apparently he only wants them for Pence or for people who look like Pence.

Advocating that marginalized groups having "safe spaces" is actually one of the concepts that the American right-wing (in particular, members of the white nationalist and reactionary "alt-right") loves to denigrate and taunt, portraying it as some grotesque excess of college campus liberalism. In reality, though, everyone needs (or should at least have access to) safe havens that don't make them feel threatened or restrained from voicing their feelings, whether that takes the form of a friend group, a family, a trusted intimate partner, or a therapist, among others.

In fact, with President Trump a reality for at least the next four years, and all the wildly inflammatory, disgraceful things he said and did to seize power ― and in the case of his attacks against his multiple sexual assault accusers, potentially triggering for millions of survivors of such abuse ― these safe spaces will be of more importance than ever.

So why hasn't Trump argued for safe spaces before this Hamilton situation with Pence?

Well, as far as the President-elect seems to be concerned, the only safe space worth having is a Broadway theater safe for notoriously anti-LGBTQ politicos like Pence. Here are seven times Trump should have supported the principle of a safe space, but through word or deed did the exact opposite:

1. When He Taunted A Black Pastor


When Trump was in the midst of his "black outreach" effort ― which mostly amounted to yelling "what the hell do [African Americans] have to lose?" to rooms full of his white supporters ― he did stand in front of at least one overwhelmingly black audience, at a church in Flint, Michigan.

And when he began to attack Hillary Clinton, the church's pastor, Faith Green Timmons, interrupted him and (quite gently) told him she didn't want her house of worship used for political attacks. Trump couldn't stand for it. Although he meekly acquiesced at the time, he later attacked Timmons on Fox News, claiming she was "nervous" and "shaking" when she introduced him. In other words, even in the confines of a church, Trump could not let a perceived slight go.

2. When He Taunted Serge Kovaleski At A Rally

Suffice to say, Trump seemed intent on making the entire national consciousness an unsafe space for people with disabilities when he whipped out a crude physical impression of journalist Serge Kovaleski. Trump denied that's what he was doing, insisting he was simply pretending to grovel. You can be the judge of that.

3. When He Implied A Woman Was Too Ugly For Him To Sexually Assault

Trump has long vehemently denied all the sexual assault allegations against him. But even in the realm of denying such dire allegations, he behaved uniquely terribly, going so far as to suggest one of his accusers was not attractive enough for him to want to assault her. If you were trying to create an unsafe, traumatizing atmosphere for the millions of American women who've been sexually assaulted, you couldn't do a much better job than this horrific comment.

4. When He Called To End Sanctuary Cities


You won't find a more literal refutation of a "safe space" from Trump than his stance on so-called sanctuary cities, places which don't prosecute undocumented immigrants strictly on the basis of their immigration status. There are very good reasons for this that Trump's never engaged with; for instance, if an undocumented immigrant is the victim of a crime, they can't report it if they fear getting hauled in. To the contrary, Trump has threatened to withhold federal funds to any such city, causing some (like Seattle) to respond that they'll do so anyways.

5. When He Ignored The Anti-Trump Protester

There's a right to peaceful protest in this country, and in the final days of the presidential campaign, one anti-Trump demonstrator at a rally was exercising just that. Then, someone in the crowd falsely accused him of having a gun, resulting in him reportedly being roughed up by the crowd and detained by the Secret Service. Some Trump staffers and many supporters hyped this as an assassination attempt, and the candidate himself never offered any correction or apology to the assaulted protester.

6. When He Called For Mosque Surveillance

Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Sorry, Muslim Americans, but Trump doesn't think your houses of worship should be safe either ― at least, not from government snooping. Throughout the campaign, Trump repeatedly called for mosques across America to come under harder surveillance. It was just one of a slew of proposals, including a ban on Muslims entering the United States until the country can "figure out what the hell is going on," that made the entire nation feel markedly less safe to its Muslim population.

7. When He Took Political Advantage Of Nykea Aldridge's Death

When Chicago resident Nykea Aldridge was slain by stray gunfire in August, a tragically routine event which drew unusually prominent media attention because she was the cousin of NBA star Dwyane Wade, Trump decided to stomp all over the space of privacy, respect, and condolence that a grieving family should be entitled to. Although a tweet hours later expressed regret for Aldridge's death, and notably sounded nothing like the tweets Trump himself sends, he led with the grossly political one above.

So it's clear Trump only demands safe spaces when they benefit someone like Mike Pence or himself, but not for any of the marginalized communities above. Great.