Donald Trump's lawyers say anti-Trump protesters were actually trampling on the president's First Amendment rights

Trump's attorneys say protesters have no First Amendment rights at campaign events — but they trampled on Trump's

By Matthew Rozsa
April 21, 2017 7:36PM (UTC)
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(Getty/Kena Betancur)

President Donald Trump has never had a great response to the people who protest at his rallies. Whether it's claiming that they're simply being paid to protest or insisting that they have sour grapes about the election, the president has long seemed either unwilling or unable to grasp that people will take to the streets to protest his words and actions — and have a constitutional right to do so.

Now Trump's hostility to protesters is taking the form of a legal argument, thanks to a legal argument presented by Trump's lawyer in a lawsuit against Trump by three protesters who allege that he had incited a crowd at a campaign rally last year into violence against them.


"Of course, protestors 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 legal team argued in a court filing on Thursday.

The lawyers went a step further, saying the protesters "obviously interfered" with Donald Trump's First Amendment right to "choose the contents of his own message" by "vigorously expressing their disdain for Mr. Trump."

Trump's lawyers said he was was "exercising a core First Amendment freedom" when he encouraged audience members to physically evict the protesters from his campaign rally. Although Trump urged audience members to "get 'em out of here," he also said, "don't hurt 'em," which the lawyers argue proves that he did not intend to cause physical harm to befall the protesters.


The filing asks the judge to pause the proceedings so that Trump's lawyers can appeal an earlier ruling that allowed the case to proceed into discovery and toward a trial, arguing that this should happen "before subjecting the president to ‘unique’ and extraordinary burdens of litigation."

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Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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