Don Jr. storms out over far-right hecklers at event for his book about liberals "silencing" speech

Don Jr. abruptly ends event trashing "triggered" liberals after protesters in MAGA hats shouted him down

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published November 11, 2019 9:45AM (EST)

Donald Trump Jr. (Getty/Scott Olson)
Donald Trump Jr. (Getty/Scott Olson)

Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, refused to take questions and walked out of an event for his new book at the University of California, Los Angeles on Sunday after they were greeted by right-wing hecklers.

The couple walked out just 20 minutes into an event that was scheduled for two hours, The Guardian first reported, after conservative protesters in “Make America Great Again” hats drowned out their appearance promoting Trump Jr.’s new book, “Triggered: How The Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us.”

The couple was first greeted with “USA” chants when they appeared on stage but the chants morphed into chants of “Q and A! Q and A!” after the audience was told Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle would not take questions “due to time constraints.”

Trump Jr. seemed to think the chants were coming from left-wing protesters and insisted that leftists would hijack the event if he took questions.

“Name a time when conservatives have disrupted even the furthest leftist on a college campus,” Trump Jr. said. “It doesn’t happen that way. We’re willing to listen.”

“Then open the Q&A!” an audience member yelled.

“See what I mean?” Trump Jr. replied. “And that is the problem. And the reason oftentimes it doesn’t make sense to do the Q&A is not because we’re not willing to talk about the questions, cause we do. No. It’s because people hijack it with nonsense looking to go for some sort of sound bite. You have people spreading nonsense, spreading hate, trying to take over the room.”

The protesters continued to chant “Q and A,” prompting Guilfoyle to berate the audience.

“You’re not making your parents proud by being rude and disruptive and discourteous,” she shouted. “We are happy to answer a question. Respect the people around you so that they can hear.”

“Let me tell you something, I bet you engage and go on online dating because you’re impressing no one here to get a date in person,” she added.

Her response only further agitated the crowd and the couple soon left the stage as the chants continued.

Though Trump Jr. seemed to blame left-wing protesters for the incident, video posted to Twitter shows the crowd shouting “America First.” America First is a fringe group that believes the “Trump administration has been taken captive by a cabal of internationalists, free-traders, and apologists for mass immigration,” according to The Guardian.

Nick Fuentes, a 21-year-old who hosts a podcast called “America First,” appeared to take credit for the protests on Sunday on Twitter and called it a “HUGE victory.” Fuentes wrote that his group’s problem was not with Trump Jr. but with Charlie Kirk, the head of the right-wing campus organization Turning Point USA, which organized the event.

“Our problem is not with [Trump Jr.] who is a patriot — We are supporters of his father!” Fuentes tweeted. “Our problem is with Charlie Kirk’s TPUSA organization that SHUTS DOWN and SMEARS socially conservative Christians and supporters of President Trump’s agenda. We are AMERICA FIRST!”

Fuentes marched in the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, according to the Boston Globe, and has promoted anti-Semitism on his show, according to The Washington Post. More recently, his group has feuded with TPUSA over claims that the organization is censoring speech from America Firsters.

Fuentes wrote on Twitter that Kirk is a “fake conservative” because his group “promotes the LGBT agenda, supports immigration policies that hurt the American worker,” and claimed he was “hurting MAGA!”

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who has been linked to the America First movement, disassociated himself from the group on Twitter and wrote that he stands with Kirk.

“As a Pro-Trump, America First conservative I support free speech, reject guilt by association, and understand that robust healthy debate is vital to our democracy,” he wrote.

Left-wing protesters also turned out for the event, but seemingly in smaller numbers. One protester inside the event chanted “immigrants are welcome here” while a group of protesters outside the event chanted “Trump, Pence out now!”

Trump Jr.’s book, which claims a “victimhood complex has taken root in the American left,” is largely the son of the most powerful man in the world complaining that his family is the victim of unfair attacks.

Trump Jr. refutes racism allegations against his father by noting that he let him and younger brother Eric play with pop star Michael Jackson as children and compares the Mueller probe to the FBI’s years-long smear campaign against Martin Luther King Jr.

In another passage in the book, Trump Jr. wrote that a trip to Arlington National Cemetery reminded him of his own family’s “sacrifices.”

“In that moment, I also thought of all the attacks we’d already suffered as a family and about all the sacrifices we’d have to make to help my father succeed — voluntarily giving up a huge chunk of our business and all international deals to avoid the appearance that we were ‘profiting off the office,’” he wrote. He later added: "Frankly, it was a big sacrifice, costing us millions and millions of dollars annually . . . Of course, we didn't get any credit whatsoever from the mainstream media, which now does not surprise me at all.”

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

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