"We're not gonna take it anymore," a crowd of thousands sang as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump entered a South Carolina convention center on Tuesday night as a 1980s heavy metal song by the band Twisted Sister blared from speakers.
The billionaire real-estate developer's packed rallies have been among the liveliest events in the long build-up to the November 2016 U.S. presidential election.
But they are increasingly becoming known for their undercurrent of aggression, which escalated into a physical altercation over the weekend when white Trump supporters attacked a black protester at his rally, to the candidate's approval.
Out in the crowds, the mix of emotions is heady, setting a Trump rally apart from those of virtually all the other Republican and Democratic White House hopefuls. The rallies combine a gleeful rejection of establishment politics, a fear that the country is about to be transformed into something un-American, and a simmering aggression toward those who dissent from Trump's world view.
Although he has been the front-runner almost without interruption for four months in the race for the Republican Party's presidential nomination, Trump is not the only candidate who can draw more supporters than a venue has chairs.
But at rallies other than Trump's, it would be unusual for disputes over blocked views between those who are standing and those who are sitting to escalate into yelling matches, as happened a couple of times mid-speech on Tuesday. On one occasion, police officers intervened to calm tempers.
At a Trump rally in Alabama on Saturday attended predominantly by white people, Trump supporters punched and kicked a black civil-rights activist who shouted "Black lives matter!" as Trump called from the stage for the activist to be thrown out.The New York Times reports:
Trump later said the activist was "obnoxious" and deserved to be "roughed up."
How alarmed were New Jersey officials by reports of Muslims dancing in the streets of Jersey City and Paterson on Sept. 11, 2001, to celebrate the destruction of the World Trade Center?
They feared riots would break out and were ready to send in the National Guard and the State Police to preserve order.
But John J. Farmer Jr., then the New Jersey attorney general and the state’s chief law enforcement officer, said on Tuesday that he ordered an investigation that very day and found the reports to be bogus, more wild stories born in the stricken hours after the attacks.
Nevertheless, those ancient, false rumors were recycled as truth over the weekend by Donald J. Trump, who has folded them into his calls for the national registration of Muslims and possible closing of mosques. Speaking in Alabama, Mr. Trump said: “Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”