Many of Donald Trump's opponents have accused him of inciting violence amongst his supporters — and apparently, some of his supporters agree. In separate court filings, two men accused of assaulting a protester at a Trump rally argued that they shouldn't be held responsible for their actions, because they were allegedly following Trump's direction. Bustle has reached out to the White House for comment on these allegations.
It began at a Kentucky rally in March 2016 when Matthew Heimbach and Alvin Bamberger were seen on video allegedly shoving Kashiya Nwanguma, a black protester in the crowd. During the confrontation, Trump can be heard shouting "Get 'em outta here!" Nwanguma subsequently sued Heimbach, Bamberger, and one other man.
Both Heimbach and Bamberger deny claims of "physically assaulting" Nwanguma, although Bamberger admitted that he "touched a woman, [but] denie[d] that he assaulted that woman." Heimbach also says that if he did act out, it was in "self-defense" or "in reasonable defense of others." However, both men are also arguing that, if Nwanguma did sustain any damages, it's Trump who should be held responsible, because he allegedly encouraged them to do what they did.
"[Heimbach] herein acted pursuant to the directives and requests of DONALD J. TRUMP and DONALD J. TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT lnc.," Heimbach, who is acting as his own lawyer, wrote in federal court filing Monday. "[A]ny liability must be shifted to one or both of them."
Bamberger, who has filed a cross-claim against Trump for allegedly inciting him to violence, was even more explicit in his defense.
Bamberger had no prior intention to act as he did. Bamberger would not have acted as he did without Trump and/or the Trump Campaign's specific urging and inspiration. To the extent that Bamberger acted, he did so in response to — and inspired by — Trump and/or the Trump Campaign's urging to remove the protesters. If Bamberger is adjudged liable to Ngwanguma for his actions, Trump and/or the Trump Campaign should be adjudged liable to Bamberger in an equal sum, because Trump and/or the Trump Campaign urged and inspired Bamberger to act as he did.
Ever since Trump first told his supporters to "knock the crap out of" protesters at his rallies, his opponents have argued that this rhetoric is dangerous, as it inspires people to commit real life acts of violence. Now, we have the president's supporters acknowledging that this is indeed the case. In other words, Trump's detractors and supporters have finally found something that they can agree on.