Mainers protesting Trump with Constitutions capture a national moment

Mainers protesting Trump with Constitutions capture a national moment

The biggest story out of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s visit to Portland, Maine on Thursday wasn’t anything he said on stage, but the actions of and reactions to a dozen protesters who stood silently and held up pocket-size copies of the U.S. Constitution.

The activists, invoking the story and family of Captain Humayun Khan, a Muslim-American soldier who was killed in Iraq, were booed and heckled by Trump’s supporters. Some had the booklets ripped from their hands and all were escorted out of Merrill Auditorium by Trump’s security.

Live cameras swiveled to cover the disruption and the event quickly became national and international news, with reports from CNN, The New York Times, The Hill, Time, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, Talking Points Memo, The Washington Post, NPR, AP and a dozen other outlets across the country.

“Constitutions” began trending on Twitter, with everyone from the ACLU to Bette Midler reacting to the spectacle of people holding up the Constitution becoming targets of abuse at a Republican rally.

Slate marveled at the clever staging of the action and Rachel Maddow noted that by chanting “USA!” Trump supporters were actually agreeing with the protesters.

The Constitution-holders are proud of the conversation they started.

“I and the other activists who stood up today, silently and peacefully, and held up copies of the U.S. Constitution, aren’t just standing up for the family of Captain Humayun Khan. We’re standing up for the principles for which Captain Khan gave his life,” explained Maria Testa, a Portland resident and activist with the Maine People’s Alliance.

“America is a country built on the ideal that all people are worthwhile. That includes Muslims, women and immigrants. We are all stronger, together, because of our differences,” she said in a statement. “Today we held up the Constitution and the Bill of Rights because we believe in a nation built on our best intentions as Americans, not the worst impulses of a racist few.”


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