Current Event: Donald Trump and Freedom of Speech
Many have been captivated by the dramatic events which have involved the numerous political candidates vying for the nomination of their respective political party in the Democratic and Republican Presidential Primaries. Recently, a large crowd of thousands of protestors gathered outside of a venue in Chicago, Illinois where Donald Trump, a candidate for the Republican nomination, was scheduled to speak at a planned rally of supporters. Prior to the scheduled start time, Mr. Trump made the decision to cancel the appearance, citing security concerns. After the cancellation, protestors reportedly chanted “We stopped Trump.” In the wake of this situation, many have discussed how rights delineated by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution apply to the parties involved.
The First Amendment prohibits the making of any law abridging the freedom of speech. In addition, it further prohibits the making of any law interfering with the right to peaceably assemble.
In this case, the protestors claimed that they were exercising their First Amendment right to peaceful assembly and that while the First Amendment protects the right to free speech, it does not protect one from protest and criticism. Donald Trump, on the other hand, claimed that the protestors’ threat of violence was utilized to suppress his free speech.
Regardless of one’s political persuasion or position with regard to this incident, it is clear that the debate over the proper application of the First Amendment in our country will continue for many years to come.