The impact of Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant broadsides appears to have veered dangerously far off the presidential campaign trail.
Police in Boston say that one of two brothers who allegedly beat a homeless Hispanic man cited Trump’s message on immigration as a motivation for their attack. “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported,” Scott Leader, 38, told officers, according to a police report cited by The Boston Globe.
Leader and his brother, Steve, were arrested and charged with multiple assault charges after police said they urinated on and then assaulted a 58-year-old homeless man they found sleeping outside a T-station as they walked home from a Red Sox game. They allegedly beat him with a metal pole, breaking his nose and causing other injuries. According to the Globe, Scott Leader told police it was OK to assault the man because he was Hispanic and homeless. Both men, who have extensive criminal records, pleaded not guilty and said the homeless man started the confrontation.
Officials in Boston immediately denounced the attack. But Trump, who has made no apology for suggesting some Mexican immigrants were “rapists” and calling for their mass deportation, appeared to brush off the incident when he was asked about it while campaigning Wednesday in New Hampshire. “I think that would be a shame,” he said, according to The Boston Herald, in reference to the report. He said he hadn’t heard about the incident but then defended his most ardent supporters as “passionate.”
I will say, the people that are following me are very passionate. They love this country. They want this country to be great again. But they are very passionate. I will say that.
For Latino leaders who repeatedly denounced Trump’s rhetoric against undocumented immigrants, the most disturbing part of the attack in Boston was how unsurprising it was. “It’s a pattern that we have seen over the last decade in the nation with enforcement only policies and this anti-immigrant rhetoric,” said Hector Sanchez, the chairman of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, in a phone interview, “I was not surprised.”