Although bigots of all sorts have felt emboldened by the rise of Donald Trump to power, that doesn’t mean that the rest of us are going to put up with it.
A man “who is listed as homeless” named Nathanael McDonough entered a Pittsburgh area train station a few minutes ahead of an African American woman and her daughter on Monday.
A man named Gary Haught was already waiting in that same station, and when McDonough “started to yell obscenities at the pair and repeatedly called them a racial slur,” Haught intervened, eventually punching McDonough in the face, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
The punch apparently came after Haught attempted to verbally coerce McDonough into stopping his harassment, but that didn’t work, only prompting McDonough to include Haught as a target of his obsessive harassment. After Haught asked the African American woman — named Shermane Price — and her daughter to move to the other side of the train platform, McDonough “threw down a backpack as if to fight Mr. Haught,” and that’s when he punched him.
Amazingly, not even a punch could stop this man. McDonough boarded the train with the rest of those waiting at the station when it arrived and continued his verbal harassment inside the train.
When the train stopped, police officers who were waiting there took McDonough, who resisted being apprehended, into custody. He apparently “appeared intoxicated, had bloodshot eyes and was bleeding from a cut on his chin” when taken into custody, also expressing suicidal intentions that prompted officers to place him in involuntary mental health treatment at a local hospital, where he seemed to remain as of Tuesday.
He was charged with “two counts of ethnic intimidation, aggravated assault, three counts of harassment, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, scattering rubbish and public drunkenness.”
Will Republicans make a stand for improved mental health treatment in light of this incident? Probably not; they have insurance companies’ profits to worry about.
Will Republicans make a public stand for the rights of African Americans following this incident? Again the answer is probably not, since the GOP has its rabidly racist, nationalist base to cater to.
The president has rarely made any public statements against attackers like McDonough in the months since he took office. After thousands of white nationalists gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia, and sparked violence that ended with three people dead, President Trump insisted that there were “fine people” among the white nationalists. He also infamously insisted that responsibility for the violence and deaths rested with “both sides.”
Does responsibility for this incident rest with “both sides,” Mr. President? He’s not likely to ever specifically address this incident — although he does have time to endlessly hype up every little slight against him — but we can all be pretty sure what his feelings would be if he did hear about what happened.
Trump has continually surrounded himself with those openly sympathetic to white nationalist causes. He himself has helped foster the culture that gave rise to this incident in Pittsburgh, having paraded into office on a racist platform, promising to discriminate against millions of people.
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