Speed Reads

Things that make you go hmmm

Trump's lawyers are arguing protesters had 'no right' to 'express dissenting views' at his campaign rallies

President Trump's lawyers are arguing that protesters at a March 2016 campaign rally had "no right" to "express dissenting views" from the then-candidate's, Politico reports. The protesters say they were violently ejected from the Louisville, Kentucky, rally by Trump supporters as Trump hollered "get 'em outta here" and "don't hurt 'em."

The lawsuit notes Trump "promised to pay the legal fees of those who — following Trump's urgings — removed the protesters."

Trump's lawyers claim that the First Amendment protected Trump's calls for his supporters to remove the protesters. "Of course, protesters have their own First Amendment right to express dissenting views, but they have no right to do so as part of the campaign rally of the political candidates they oppose," Trump's lawyers write.

A federal district court judge has raised questions about that line of thinking. The judge has also been skeptical of the argument that Trump didn't intend for his supporters to use force on the protesters.

But "even if Mr. Trump implicitly instructed the audience to remove the protesters by using force if necessary, his speech was still entirely lawful and protected under the First Amendment unless he advocated a greater degree of force than was necessary under the circumstances," Trump's lawyers argue. "Absent that type of unlawful advocacy, Mr. Trump cannot be held liable for incitement. It makes no difference whether the crowd reacted with unlawful violence beyond what Mr. Trump advocated."