Right now, the world is hearing a tale from Huntington Beach of a pro-Donald Trump rally that erupted in violence after a masked anarchist pepper-sprayed one of the march organizers, Jennifer Sterling, without provocation. Trump supporters are crowing that they gave counter-protesters a taste of MAGA medicine, and are no doubt emboldened to go after any cucks, snowflakes and SJWs who stand in their way.
Especially if it’s the press—namely, the OC Weekly—trying to do our job.
It started peacefully enough. On an overcast Saturday morning, a mini-festival popped up at Bolsa Chica State Beach as part of a nationwide effort to show support for Trump. An overwhelmingly white crowd (yeah, there were some tokens—good for them!) of old people, families, teens, and even pups filtered onto the sand. Many wore red “Make America Great Again” hats or waved the Stars and Stripes, “Don’t Tread on Me” and “Blue Live Matters” flags. And then there were the signs: “Keep Orange County Republican” and “The Silent Majority” and some Pepes and other such fun.
“The Star Spangled Banner” played. Speeches would be recited. Dana Rohrbacher rambled. Doves would be released. A Marine did pull-ups. And then counter-protesters showed up around 10 a.m., down the way from the party.
“We feel like it’s important to come out here and be heard,” Organizer Jordan Hoiberg said shortly after arriving. He’s a Newport Beach resident and a member of Socialist Party USA. “As Frederick Douglas said ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand’ so we’re here today to make demands…We’re going to make sure we’re heard but we’re not looking to provoke any kind of physical confrontation with the Trump supporters in any way.”
60 people confirmed on Facebook that they’d show up; only about 10 did at first. As some put on masks, Trump supporters arrived to yell things such as “Take off your mask, chickenshits!” and “Why are you dressed like ISIS? Let us see your face!” One woman with bad breath yelled at Weekly intern Frank Tristan, “Are you here to cause trouble, too?!” When Tristan identified himself as media, she screamed “Fake news!” and stormed off.
Veteran members of both sides did their best to keep the peace early by engaging in peaceful arguments. Two elderly Trump supporters came and shook the hands of their opponents, wishing for nonviolence and peace on both sides and saying, “God bless all of us.”
They were the exceptions. The toothbrush-needing woman tried to mark the faces of counter-protestors with a pen; when one told her to back off, she knocked off his hat and walked away. A middle-aged white man grabbed an African-American by the shoulders and proclaimed, “By the way, this is a Trump supporter.” Another one saw an anarchist sign and wondered out loud to the person holding it, “Maybe if there was anarchy, I’d be able to kick your ass and there’d be no cops to help you.”
A middle-aged Latina received cheers and thumbs-up when she yelled, “I’m a proud Latina for Trump! For legal immigration!” Another Latina Trump supporter went on to tell counter-protestors that Trump was “chosen” by God and that they didn’t know their “Father” [God], to which one of the counter protestors responded, “I’m a Christian too, I know my Father and he doesn’t like injustice…he doesn’t like women’s pussies being grabbed.”
Eventually, around 25 counterprotestors showed up to chant, “No Trump, No KKK, No fascist USA!” “Hands too small, can’t build a wall,” “Deport Donald Trump!” “Liberation, not deportation” and “All the walls have to go, Palestine to Mexico.”
That didn’t endear them to Trump supporters. Some shirtless white 20-somethings arrived to yell, “Stop embarrassing yourself!” “Communists go home!”, “Build the wall!” “Defend America!” “Go get a job” and, simply, “LOSER!”
And this was all before the march officially started.
It finally rolled out around noon, as about a thousand Trump supporters began moving from Warner Avenue to the bridge right before Seapoint Street. But not everyone at Bolsa Chica State Beach got the memo. Many beachgoers looked perplexed as the #MAGAmarch filled the nearly two-mile bike trail. As it headed south, counter-protesters formed a wall along the bike trail, holding a banner and trying to block the coming crowd. Trump supporters began pushing through gaps, and a struggle ensued. One of the female counter-protesters pants fell down during the scrum, as Trump supporters began laughing. “I just saw your cooter,” one lecher snickered. “That’s illegal!”
Fighting broke out between Trump supporters and counter-protesters, with videos showing each side giving as good as they got. Two African-American male counter-protesters (let’s call them the Twins) were torn away from their comrades, and Trump supporters began pushing them, with one fat guy in an orange T-shirt shoving his portly chest against one of the Twins. Another Trump supporter even tried to jab his flag pole into the face of the other Twin, at which point the other Twin grabbed the flag from his hands and threw it to the ground. Trump supporters kept confronting the Twins, until someone sucker-punched one of them with brass knuckles and another jabbed Weekly intern Tristan in the face. In the ensuing chaos, a middle-aged Trump supporter called one of the Twins “nigger” and another was called a “spic.”
State Park Peace Officers yelled at the Twins to head to the sidelines, but they both fled the scene; one later stated, “We knew what the cops wanted to do with us because they were clearly defending the violent Trump supporters.”
“I’m not going to say I didn’t expect it,” he continued. “At the end of the day, they’re emboldened by a leader who supports them and they’re enabled by state-sponsored racists. “I think regardless of us being assaulted, anti-fascist protests need to go on. Regardless if we’re outnumbered, we still need to protest.”
Then came the pepper spray.
If you believe the Trump supporters, the pepper spray came out of nowhere, unprovoked. But thanks to the beauty of YouTube, the below video shows the truth.
In case it gets taken down, here’s the synopsis: While protestors are chanting “USA! USA!” a Trump supporter in a goatee points to a man in a Desert Storm cap and tells his friend (let’s call him Trump Friend) that the cap-wearing fellow (let’s call him Cap Guy) pushed a woman “on her ass.” Trump Friend then shoves Cap Guy, at which point a young man wearing a black beanie tries to intervene. Trump Friend then starts punching the young man, with other Trump supporters jumping in.
The young man? Weekly intern Tristan. Cap Guy? Weekly photographer Brian Feinzimer. His alleged push of a woman? He took away a flag from a lady in a cream-colored sweater who had swatted Weekly photographer Julie Leopo with it, then was waving it wildly in front of Feinzimer’s camera. He threw it on the ground; she grabbed onto him. He raised his arm to shake her off; she fell forward to the ground. There, she found her flag, tried to whack it at Feinzimer, and walked away to wave the flag elsewhere.
This is when Trump Friend jumps in.
Sterling pushed Trump Friend away from Tristan. Then, a man in a gray shirt grabbed Tristan by the jacket and began punching him in the head and face. Sterling then tried to push away Gray Shirt Guy, at which point an anarchist pushed at Gray Shirt Guy, then tried to swing at him but seemed to hit Sterling. Another masked counter-protester jumped in front of Tristan and pepper-sprayed Gray Shirt Guy, Sterling and others. Video shows both times, the anarchist targeted Gray Shirt Guy instead of Sterling. (see the entire chain of events, starting with the flag-waving lady, at 7:00 of this KTTV-TV Channel 11 chopper video).
Trump fans weren’t done. The goateed guy who started the whole fracas jabbed his flag pole at Feinzimer and Tristan’s faces. Others surrounded Leopo and Feinzimer as they were leaving, blasting them for working with OC Weekly. “You guys say you can kick our ass online,” one middle-aged man told Leopo. “Let’s see it now!”
At that point, a group of Trump supporters chased after the anarchists—and that’s when the neo-Nazis arrived to play.
They were proudly out during the rally, with no one telling them to go away. The Orange County Register reported banners with swastikas were seen. One young man near the front of the peaceful part of the rally carried an Imperial War Ensign flag, the banner of the Second Reich that neo-Nazis favor in Germany since the Nazi flag is banned.
— Crazy Dana (@CrazyDana48) March 25, 2017
Another held a sign reading “Da Goyim Know,” an anti-Semitic meme favored by white supremacists. He was with a group of young white men with a “Defend America” banner that had crossed out the U.S.S.R’s hammer and sickle, the anti-fascist red flag, prescription drugs, and Arabic.
Their particular style was reminiscent of the playbook of Vanguard America, a white-supremacist group trying to get college kids to think racism is cool. Members of that group and their pals began chasing after the masked anarchist who had pepper-sprayed earlier:
— Jojoh888 (@jojoh888) March 25, 2017
The bizarre chant is “You can’t run/You can’t hide/You get helicopter ride.” The whirlybird reference is neo-fascist speak for dumping your opponents off of a helicopter, the way Pinochet and other Latin American fascists used to do (stealing, of course, what the U.S. did to Charlie in ‘Nam).
Trump supporters pushed the counter-protester to the ground, pummeling him as nearby peace officers stood and watched. He pepper-sprayed his way out of there (accidentally hitting our own Leopo in the process) and eventually escaped by hopping a fence that divided them from PCH. A shirtless white man threw a large rock that struck the protestor in the chest, making him fall. California Highway Patrol arrested the counter-protester as Trump supporters told police, “Handle him or we’ll handle him.” CHP made no attempt to arrest the man who threw the rock, nor did law enforcement present at the scene bother to do much, period.
Meanwhile, a group of white men began following Hoiberg, calling him a “faggot” and “pussy” (there was a LOT of “faggot,” “pussy,” and “bitch” thrown around during the rally—stay classy, Huntington Beach!) One of the white men told Tristan “We see you” and “Fuck La Raza.” Hoiberg called the fighting “unfortunate,” stating that “people have to act in self-defense” and that the counter protestors masked themselves because “they’re terrified of being stalked online and receiving threats. They want to avoid that.”
Exaggerating? Check out this video, where a woman punches someone who was videotaping Trumpbros at their homophobic nastiest. Also, note the schlubby nebbish going on and on about “helicopter rides”:
None of the above—not the assault on Weekly photographers and interns, not the fascist death wishes, not the racist and sexist language uttered by Trump rally-goers—made the news. Instead, after the pepper-spray wielding anarchist was chased off, MSM reporters went back to the peaceful Trump protesters, who by then had gotten to the Seapoint Street bridge to chant “USA, USA, USA” to the traffic speeding by on PCH. Some also chanted “Trump 2020” and “Lock Her Up” for good measure. The crowd garnered several honks in support of their pro-Trump message, much to the delight of the crowd—although there was one “Fuck Trump!” that they ignored.
That said, even the pro-Trump peaceniks were proud of the bros among them. “Everybody is causing violence, right?” a middle-aged white man snarked. “It’s because they got rid of the snowflakes,” added a middle-aged Asian man with a MAGA hat and a sign with a brick wall painted on it.
“I don’t want to start violence, but I will bring it to defend myself,” says Jennifer, a self-proclaimed Vietnamese immigrant. “We need to teach [anti-Trump protesters] a lesson to respect our right to free speech.”