A stream of protesters interrupted Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump up to 10 times Friday during a speech in Raleigh, N.C., according to various media reports.
Several protesters could be heard chanting “Black Lives Matter!” at the Dorton Arena, reports Mediaite. In each instance, the report says, supporters booed and drowned out the protesters with chants of “USA! USA!”
Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison told CNN that authorities removed about 25 protesters from the event. Western Wake Fire Rescue Capt. Brian Egan said the crowd numbered about 7,800.
Two women who brought red signs reading, “Stop the hate. We make America great” were removed as they began shouting, according to the New York Times.
The demonstrators were escorted out by security, but Trump urged that they be removed with care after he came under fire last month when supporters roughed up a protester in Birmingham, Ala.
“Be very nice to the protester. When I’m rough and I say, ‘Get them out of the room,’ they say, ‘Oh, that’s terrible,’” Trump said about the media, according to the Times. “Then when I’m nice, I say, ‘Be very careful, be very gentle, don’t hurt the protester,’ then they say, ‘He was very weak tonight.’ So you can’t win. So I’ll try and cut it right down the middle. Make sure that young lady is in beautiful shape, and if she’d like us to let her back in, do we invite her back in? I don’t know.”
But as the interruptions continued, he asked security to escort protesters out more quickly.
“Why don’t you take them out the nearest door instead of walking them through the whole place?” he said after the eighth incident, reports CNN.
He mused that he could use their energy if he could convince them to join the Republican Party.
“If I could speak to these four people, I’d say, ‘Look, you may be a Democrat, you may be a liberal, who cares, we’re going to make our country strong, we’re going to make it good,” Trump said, writes CNN. “I really think I could talk sense into them. … But remember there’s only four people.”
Trump, who has been criticized for retweeting a graphic of erroneous statistics that blamed the murder rate on African Americans, appears to be trying to improve his relationship with black voters. Last week he met with black pastors at his New York City headquarters. On Friday he invited two black female supporters onstage to “do a little routine” in his honor.
The “Stump for Trump” women, Lynette “Diamond” Hardaway and Rochelle “Silk” Richardson, were happy to oblige.
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