David Martosko, Daily Mail, May 25, 2016
Donald Trump has hit out at ‘thugs’ and ‘criminals’ who protested a rally in Albuquerque last night which turned violent when demonstrators trying to disrupt his speech clashed with riot police, set fires and sent people running in fear over the sound of a ‘gunshot’.
Around 100 protesters broke through a barricade outside the building shortly after Trump took to the stage, trying to throw rocks through a window and at police, and setting fires on the street outside.
One officer said that a shot was fired from a pellet gun, and a second officer said it was a bullet–though subsequent reports have cast doubts over the ‘gunfire’.
Smoke canisters erupted through the streets as police tried to surround the protesters, while multiple officers are being treated for injuries and one protester has been arrested, police told Daily Mail Online.
Trump took to his Twitter account on Wednesday morning to say: ‘The protesters in New Mexico were thugs who were flying the Mexican flag. The rally inside was big and beautiful, but outside, criminals!’
Albuquerque Police locked down the convention center’s main hall, which was empty except for staff, security and reporters filing stories.
Activists outside had tried to force their way in as Trump was finishing an hour-long speech, but a line of police forced them back. One table holding a vendor’s Trump merchandise was set on fire, and protesters threw flaming t-shirts at police.
They responded with smoke canisters and pepper spray in an effort to disperse the crowd.
During the rally, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee was interrupted repeatedly by protesters, who shouted, held up banners and resisted removal by security officers.
The banners included the messages ‘Trump is Fascist’ and ‘We’ve heard enough.’
He responded with his usual bluster, instructing security to remove the protesters and mocking their actions by telling them to ‘Go home to mommy’.
He responded to one demonstrator by asking, ‘How old is this kid?’ He then provided his own answer: ‘Still wearing diapers.’
Trump’s supporters responded with chants of ‘Build that wall!’
Protesters outside overran barricades and clashed with police in riot gear. They also burned T-shirts and other items labeled with Trump’s catchphrase, ‘Make America Great Again.’ The scenes were reminiscent of a rally which was postponed in Chicago back in March when supporters of Trump and demonstrators clashed.
Inside the convention center, the billionaire boasted that there was ‘no safer place on earth’ than at one of his rallies.
Much of his speech was dedicated to blasting Hillary Clinton, his likely rival in the general election later this year.
He called Clinton ‘Obama-lite’ during his speech, which lasted more than an hour saying that ‘it’s hard to believe you could get lighter than Obama.’
‘Hillary can’t even put away Bernie!’ he said, referring to the scrappy Senator Bernie Sanders, who is giving her the fight of her life in the Democratic primary.
‘Crooked Hillary, she can’t put him away.’
‘I gotta give him credit,’ he said later. ‘Crazy Bernie’s out there trying hard.’
But he went out of his way to clobber Clinton on her personal speaking habits as much as for her policy ideas.
‘I will never say this,’ he said–and then said it. ‘She screams. it drives me crazy. I can’t listen!’
He complained that Clinton had passed judgment on his pattern of turning a profit by buying distressed and foreclosed housing and reselling it at a profit when the market turned upward.
‘She goes, “And Donald Trump is a terrible person! And he wanted to buy housing when it was at a low point!”‘
‘Who the hell doesn’t?’ he yelled, drawing a mixture of laughing and cheers.
He also reserved plenty of insults for Elizabeth Warren, the woman he claims will be Clinton’s running mate, and with whom he has an ongoing Twitter fight.
‘You know, Hillary Clinton has somebody. Did you ever hear of Pocahontas? It’s Pocahontas, Elizabeth Warren!’ he shouted to thousands gathered in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Warren famously described herself as a native American, based on a tiny branch of her family tree, in order to gain preferential treatment in law school hiring.
‘She said she was an Indian!’ Trump laughed. ‘She said because her cheekbones were so high, she was an Indian! That she’s Native American! … We’re getting wise to what’s happening. It’s a big scam.’
Trump also returned to a theme from last week’s National Rifle Association convention in Louisville, Kentucky, where he received the gun-rights lobby group’s endorsement.
Clinton ‘wants to take your guns away and she wants to abolish the Second Amendment,’ he claimed.
And he insisted that Clinton’s economic plan would disadvantage black teens whose unemployment rate is far above the national average.
‘Hillary Clinton is so bad for African-American youth,’ he said. ‘She is not going to create jobs. She is going to be such a disaster.’