Donald Trump rallies are known to draw a large crowd of supporters and protestors — but a little known law supported by President Obama in 2012 demands Secret Service stop protests among any of the officials they’re charged to protect.
Slate writer Dahlia Lithwick reported back in 2012 that President Obama signed an anti-protest bill into law prohibiting anyone from “knowingly… impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions” in locations guarded by the Secret Service.
That includes speeches made by the Republican frontrunner and former First Lady Hillary Clinton, who has Secret Service protection for life.
The amendment added to H.R. 347 makes it a federal crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
This means that any area with permanent or temporary Secret Service protection are not free speech zones.
“(H.R. 347) could be misused as part of a larger move by the Secret Service and others to suppress lawful protest by relegating it to particular locations at a public event,” Gabe Rottman, a policy adviser for the ACLU, said in 2012.
“These ‘free speech zones,’” he continued, “are frequently used to target certain viewpoints or to keep protesters away from the cameras.”
Such a situation occurred at a Trump rally in Georgia on Monday when two dozen black college students were ejected from an event held by the Republican frontrunner.
Despite having tickets to the event, the city of Valdosta’s police department, escorted the black students to a “designated protest zone” about a five-minute walk from the college gym.
It’s ironic that President Obama is silencing the same people who overwhelmingly supported him.
(h/t The Intercept)