*About 30 African American students with tickets to Donald Trump’s rally at their Georgia college were escorted out of the venue before the event even started. Authorities claimed they were shouting profanities at the crowd.
The GOP presidential front-runner has kicked out anticipated protestors before, but this was one of the largest groups so far in his campaign, according to CNN.
It happened at Valdosta State University, just hours after a Secret Service agent choke-slammed a Time magazine photographer attempting to photograph #BlackLivesMatter protesters at an event in Virginia.
Per the Washington Post:
Tahjila Davis, a student at Valdosta State, wrote on Facebook late Monday night that she felt “outraged” and “let down” by the university.
“After we got our tickets, waited in line, went through security and walked to get our seats, Trump’s secret service came up to us and asked us to leave,” Davis wrote. “Again, a group of all black students who WERE NOT there to protest, but to sit in the rally like every else, got KICKED OUT FOR NO REASON.
“There was no yelling, we held no signs, no nothing. After getting put out, the police continued to try to escort us off of our own campus.”
A day later, accounts from students and law enforcement remained murky.
Vincent Jupiter, a 21-year-old mass communications major at Valdosta State University, said about 30 students showed up dressed in all black to show their disapproval of Trump, who has been vocal about his views on minorities.
“They assumed we were going to start some trouble,” Jupiter told The Washington Post on Tuesday. “We didn’t come to start any trouble. We just wanted to be seen.”
Jupiter said the students also wanted to hear what Trump had to say.
More than an hour before Trump’s arrival at Valdosta State University, as many people were still searching for their seats, Jupiter said his group was approached by people “in uniform” and asked to leave. Jupiter said the students were given no explanation as to why.
“The cops told us they were just following orders,” he said.
Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress said that the group of students — which included some white students — had started shouting profanities and that Trump staffers escorted them from the arena.
According to CNN, the Trump campaign denies reports that it ordered the students removed. “There is absolutely zero truth to that,” says campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks.
One Secret Service agent oversaw the students’ removal, but agents did not actively participate in escorting them out.
“If a group at an event protests, it does not become an issue with the United States Secret Service unless our protectee is threatened,” said Kevin Dye, a spokesman for Secret Service. He said it’s not uncommon for Secret Service agents to monitor these situations, but they do not actively participate in removing protesters.
Another Secret Service agent told CNN the protesters were “asked to leave by the host committee and local law enforcement.”
“We do not escort protestors (or) disruptors out of events,” the agent, speaking on background, said. “(It’s) not a Secret Service function and (campaign) staff knows that.”
Watch video below:
— Mikey (@Mikey_Spiffy) February 29, 2016
The Valdosta student protest came after Trump also spent part of Monday trying to clean up a racially charged controversy after he refused to disavow former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke over the weekend. When asked about his Sunday comments on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Trump blamed a “bad earpiece.”
Also on Monday, Trump accepted the endorsement of NASCAR CEO Brian France and several of the sport’s prominent drivers — even though the organization distanced itself from him last year because of his comments about illegal immigrants.