Donald Trump asked Florida rally attendees to pledge an oath to support him on Super Saturday, and the scene looked like something eerily similar to what went on in WWII Germany. The drama took place at the University of Central Florida arena in Orlando, at a Trump rally that was reportedly repeatedly interrupted by anti-Donald Trump protesters.
The Trump gathering featured a speech by the former reality TV star that went on for an hour, during which Donald Trump asked the crowd to “do a pledge.” He told those in attendance that he’d “never done this before.” He then asked for a pledge, “a swearing,” asking for the audience to raise their right hands and repeat after him.
“I do solemnly swear that I, no matter how I feel, no matter what the conditions, if there are hurricanes or whatever, will vote on or before the 12th for Donald J. Trump for President.”
Donald Trump makes members of his Orlando crowd raise their right hands and swear to vote in the primary. pic.twitter.com/EVenRilJrV— Jenna Johnson (@wpjenna) March 5, 2016
The crowd willingly cooperated, reports CNN, and rather than be off-put by the bizarre, almost fascist-sounding request, the crowd cheered at the end of the pledge. Following the cheer, Donald Trump issued what could have been construed as a menacing or threatening statement.
“Now I know. Don’t forget you all raised your hands. You swore. Bad things happen if you don’t live up to what you just did.”
The entire bizarre scene was caught on film by various media outlets.
Despite his harsh words about not living up to promises, Donald Trump used the Florida rally as an opportunity to backtrack on a vow he’d made just the day before regarding the torture of suspected terrorists. CNN reported on March 4 that Donald Trump reversed his previous position on the potential torture of U.S. prisoners. In response to harsh criticism that he’d received (some critics declared Trump as “utterly unfitted to the office” of U.S. President) regarding previous statements he’s made advocating both the “benefits” of waterboarding and the killing of suspected terrorists’ families, Donald Trump told the media outlet that he would not order the U.S. military to violate international anti-torture laws to fight terrorism.
Specifically, on March 4, Donald Trump said in a statement that he understands the international treaties and laws by which the United States is bound, going on to say that he wouldn’t order “our military or other officials to violate those laws and will seek their advice on such matters.”
On Super Saturday, March 5, Donald Trump flip-flopped his stance on torture again, once again alluding that he would be open to ordering captured terror suspects’ torture if he could get away with doing it within the laws. Laws he promised to “broaden” in order to make some current torture methods legal.
“We’re going to stay within the laws. But you know what we’re going to do? We’re going to have those laws broadened because we’re playing with two sets of rules: their [ISIS] rules and our rules. We have to obey the laws, but do you think ISIS is obeying the laws?”
Prior to his Friday vow not to violate international treaties by ordering torture in the event he’s elected president, Donald Trump suffered intense backlash from some former U.S. national security officials, including the former director of the CIA, Michael Hayden. Hayden went on the record as arguing that any illegal orders issued by a potential president Donald Trump would not be followed by U.S. military officials.
In addition to extracting a vow of support from supporters in attendance at his Florida rally and once again pandering to his current audience with regard to torture, Donald Trump also had to deal with a slew of protesters. All in all, Donald Trump’s speech was interrupted by his dissenters over a dozen times, with The Donald having to ask protesters to stop at one point so that he didn’t miss any talking points during his hour-long speech.
“Can the protesters stop for a couple of seconds so we can talk?”
Trump rally in Orlando... Asked his supporters for and oath of loyalty, raising their right hand just like nazis pic.twitter.com/R90XMYLDhS— Layne Johnson (@layne_train13) March 6, 2016
At another point, two men behind the stage shouted at Donald Trump before being physically assaulted by a Trump supporter wearing a white Trump shirt. The Trump supporter grabbed one of the men by the neck, prompting Donald Trump to approach the scuffle. Ultimately, it was the protesters who were removed from the rally. Predictably, Trump blamed the violence and contention on President Obama.
“You know, we have a divided country, folks. We have a terrible president who happens to be African-American. There has never been a greater division than just about what we have right now. The hatred, the animosity. I will bring people together. You watch.”
The Florida primary takes place on March 15; after the polls close, America will be better able to gauge the effectiveness of the Donald Trump support oath.
[Photo by Brynn Anderson/AP Images]