Last week, a judge allowed a case to proceed against President Donald Trump for alleging violence at a campaign rally last year in Kentucky. George Washington University freshman Henry Brousseau is one of three plaintiffs in the case who was assaulted by three Trump supporters, one of whom identifies as a white nationalist.
“I wouldn’t say I was scared. I had seen the news coverage. I’ve known he been a little wild in his campaign rallies,” Brousseau said in an interview with Red Alert Politics. “But I was mostly there to make my voice heard in a peaceful manner, to express my First Amendment right. To have my opinion heard. And to just see what he had to say and show that I and most Americans didn’t stand with what he was saying, didn’t share his beliefs, and just to make my opinion heard.”
Like other anti-Trump activists, Brousseau vehemently disagreed with then-presidential candidate Trump’s rhetoric on immigration and Muslims. “I feel like I have an obligation to stand up against that. Just to stand up against hatred, his blatant lies,” he said. “At one point he was saying things about how he was the smartest and the greatest ever. And lies about Muslim Americans and Mexican Americans, people who are all important to American society.”
The student said he felt like it was his “duty” to take action and show the country that many Americans do not support Trump. However, despite feeling a need to make a stand, Brousseau would not make such a move again.
“I wouldn’t do it again because I was in a dangerous situation physically,” he admitted. “But I do think it is important that people get to see what our now-president was inciting. [He] was willing to incite and was willing to hold such disregard for our safety, for people in the audience’s safety. So I’m glad I could have that be seen. But I don’t think I would do it again just because I was put in harm[‘s way].”
Brousseau blames the altercation on Trump even though he was being targeted by members of the audience — specifically, three Trump supporters, two of whom in the lawsuit are identified as affiliated with the white nationalist Traditional Worker’s Party.
“When you incite someone to violence it’s almost like you’re bringing the situation back,” he said.
Brousseau said he didn’t want to get involved but felt he had to,”because when someone does something wrong, especially in that much position of authority, they need to be called on and need to be stopped.”
Despite the negativity surrounding the case, Brousseau has received mostly supportive messages.
“The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” he remarked. “Many people have the same sentiments we did when we filed this, that you have to be held responsible for your words.”
Even though Brousseau’s interaction with the Trump supporters at the rally was traumatic, he does not paint all Trump supporters with a negative brush.
“I think the vast majority of Trump supporters are American-loving patriots. While I disagree with him on 99 percent of policy, they are still good American citizens,” he said. “However, the embracing of white supremacists, of people who should be in the periphery of American political light, have been normalized through Donald Trump’s actions and speech.”
Additionally, Brousseau refuted the common criticism that the legal action is for monetary gain.
He added, “This is not an American way to do things, to speak like that in a position of authority, to incite people against each other, Americans against Americans. To try to shut down free speech, to shut down protesting, which is such a fundamental part of our democracy. It’s not for the money.”
When asked if there’s anything he could say to now-President Trump’s face he said he “wouldn’t talk to the president. I don’t have anything to say to him other than things he hears every day. I don’t think I can offer him anything other than he needs new friends.”