It’s fairly common for real-estate mogul Donald Trump’s big rallies to be interrupted a couple times by protesters.
But the start of Trump’s Thursday-night speech in Burlington, Vermont, was interrupted time and time again.
At one point, the frustrated Republican front-runner even told security to take the coats away from the protesters before throwing them out in the cold.
“I thought I heard a little voice over there. All right, get him out. Take him out. Get him out of here. Don’t give him his coat!” Trump exclaimed.
“Don’t give him his coat! Keep his coat. Confiscate his coat. You know it’s about 10 degrees below zero outside. … Keep his coat. Tell him we’ll send it to him in a couple weeks,” he joked.
He noted that he expected a number of critics in a left-leaning state like Vermont.
The frequent interruptions came despite the fact that Trump’s staff did not let anyone into event who said they were an undecided voter, let alone a supporter of another candidate. Trump released a statement saying he had to be “loyal” to his supporters after distributing 20,000 free tickets for a venue that could only fit 1,400 people.
But some of the people who made it into the Burlington venue, after lining up hours in advance, were clearly not fans of the billionaire’s provocative campaign.
The protests began a few minutes into Trump’s speech. (Before Trump spoke, an announcer urged the crowd not to “touch or harm any of the protesters,” who the announcer noted had been provided an area outside to voice their opposition to Trump.)
“Unbelievable. Unbelievable. Unbelievable. That was a very mild protester, I would say,” Trump said, taking a shot at the heckler’s allegedly weak voice.
Trump nevertheless praised the fact that protesters help draw the cameras to show off his massive crowd sizes: “That’s why I love protesters,” he said.
A couple minutes later, his crowd erupted into boos as some people at the event chanted in support of local US Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), a Democratic presidential candidate.
“Get him out. Get him out. Get him out. Get him out. Yeah, take him out please. … Get him out,” Trump directed to his event’s security team. “You know, it’s sort of fun. Isn’t this more exciting? You go to a Hillary thing, and it’s like boring. You go to a Jeb thing and you fall asleep.”
Trump said he could likely reason with any of his hecklers, “unless they have a substance-abuse problem — which is probably there.”
Another interruption soon occurred.
“I don’t even hear them. Their voices are so weak. I don’t even hear them,” Trump said. “OK, you can get them out. Yeah, get them out. Thank you darling.” Trump again mocked other candidates who hold events where there are no disruptions: “Nobody cares.”
Eventually the heckling died down after a few more protests.”Get him out,” a frustrated Trump said at one point. “Come on, security, go faster.”
Trump later added, “We’ll get more and more angry as we go along.”
All the turmoil apparently led to some tensions in the crowd:
Trump supporters are now pointing out people they think are imposters and shouting: Out! Out!
— Jenna Johnson (@wpjenna) January 8, 2016
Trump staffers and crowd pointing out people they think are protestors. Like wearing a Scarlet Letter. “I didn’t do anything!” woman says.
— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) January 8, 2016
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