Tensions continue to rise across the United States as the Trump presidency drags on. In recent days, a conservative activist helping man a Turning Point USA table on the Berkeley campus of the University of California got punched in the face by an at this point unidentified assailant who allegedly took issue with the group’s railing against “hate crime hoaxes.” After the incident, the victim — Hayden Williams — made an appearance on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show — because of course he did.
Williams told Hannity:
‘This person claimed we were promoting violence on campus and proceeded to take his aggression out on us… These two people just approached our table… very erratically and started cussing at us.’
Watch the appearance below.
There’s video of the incident, and UC Berkeley police say they’re investigating the altercation, which apparently began with a verbal argument during which Williams took out his phone and began filming those who’d approached the table. One of the men then slapped the phone out of his hand and punched him several times
It’s not the first time that a similar incident has unfolded in the same venue. In early 2017, a planned appearance by infamous right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos at the campus was cancelled after a group of violent, masked vigilantes descended on the grounds, ultimately causing some $100,000 worth of damage, according to the school. The assailants in that instance were associated with the “Black Bloc” anarchist group that has apparently operated in the Oakland area for some time.
Later that year, Milo ended up actually speaking at the campus — but TIME magazine shares that “few people could actually hear anything he said” because of passionate protests. The appearance was part of a planned “Free Speech Week” that had been set to host a number of speakers besides Yiannopoulos but ended up being mostly cancelled, save for his speech.
Despite the obvious fact of the many who have no interest in the hyperbolic, oversimplified rhetoric from the right, they keep at it.
The TPUSA table that was attacked this past week offered their messaging against “hate crime hoaxes” and claiming that “this is MAGA country” as reports swirled that television actor Jussie Smollett had staged an attack on himself in a publicity stunt. To suggest that the incident indicates any sort of “problem” with hate crime hoaxes is ludicrous, no matter what angry moron decided to punch his way through the situation this past week. Hate crimes continue to be perpetrated at an alarming rate across the United States. Besides, one is too many.
This time around, just like in January, the assailant was again not a student or formal affiliate of the university, according to school authorities. The incident should not be used as some kind of rallying cry considering the actual realities of the situation — but it is anyway.
Lawrence Jones, who works with the Leadership Institute organization that Williams is personally associated with, railed to Hannity:
‘This is not new for UC-Berkeley. This is a school that has been burnt down almost, because they don’t like the conservative point of view on the college campus.’
He did not mention any of the acts of violence across the United States that have been committed in the name of and at direct urging of Donald Trump. Just in recent days, a Coast Guard lieutenant was revealed to have been planning domestic terrorism targeting Democratic leaders across the country.
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