Two brothers from South Boston, Massachusetts — Scott and Steve Leader — were arrested Tuesday night and charged with a brutal and unprovoked assault on a sleeping homeless man, a man of Latino descent, punching him in the head, clubbing him with a metal pole, and urinating on his face. The 58-year-old victim was left in fair condition at a Boston Medical Center.
According to police, when investigators asked the brothers what motivated the seemingly senseless and horrific crime, Scott Leader replied, “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.”
But when Trump, the billionaire real-estate developer and former reality TV star who is currently the leading Republican candidate for president, was told about the sickening crime and the accused perpetrators’ stated motivation, his response was both shocking and bizarre.
When asked for his reaction to the possibility that his anti-Latino campaign rhetoric — Trump has termed immigrants “rapists” who are “bringing drugs” into the country, and called for mass deportations of entire families — inspired a near-fatal assault, initially said, the Republican frontrunner said “it would be a shame,” according to the Boston Globe.
But after his less-than-emphatic criticism of the crime, Trump quickly launched into what appeared to be a defense of the men accused in the merciless attack.
“People who are following me are very passionate… They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.”
Scott Leader has previous hate crime conviction, attacking a man from Morocco in 2001, several days after the 9/11 terror attacks. Both Leader brothers have long criminal histories, according to prosecutors.
The homeless man, whose name has not been released, suffered a broken nose and severe bruising on his head and body. Witnesses said the Leader brothers were heard laughing as they walked away from the scene of the attack.
Boston has been the site of several ethnically motivated hate-crime attacks in recent years, including an attack on a Muslim woman in 2013, and a vicious bottle, stick, and stone-throwing assault on an allegedly undocumented Guatemalan immigrant in 2009.
The response of Boston officials to the latest, and allegedly Trump-inspired, hate attack was more definitive than that of the candidate himself.
Calling the crime “sickening,” Boston Mayor Thomas Walsh said that the accused perpetrators “should be ashamed of themselves,” while Police Commissioner William Evans — himself a resident of South Boston — condemned the crime as “a disgrace” and condemned the Leader brothers for giving his own neighborhood “a bad name.”
Polling this week shows Donald Trump not only leading the Republican field by a wide margin in the Presidential race, but now trailing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by just six percentage points nationwide.
[Images: Suffolk County District Attorney, Win McNamee / Getty Images]