It was not entirely clear what Donald Trump was doing when he motioned toward a heckler at his campaign rally on Thursday, but many on Twitter seemed pretty sure it looked obscene.
A short clip taken from Trump’s rally in Cincinnati showed Trump standing on stage as the crowd erupted in a chorus of boos toward a heckler. The video, shared by many on Twitter, including Vox journalist Aaron Rupar, showed Trump point toward the commotion and then make a back-and-forth motion with his hands below his waist, which was interpreted by many as simulating self-stimulation as an insult to the heckler. MSNBC host Joy Reid also shared the same clip on Twitter, adding the caption, “This vulgar man…”
The video captured viral attention across social media, with the video garnering more than 200,000 views in just a few hours after the rally concluded on Thursday evening. While many believed Trump’s gesture to be obscene, others said it appeared that he was motioning for the heckler to be thrown out.
As The Hill reported, Trump’s rally had a number of raucous moments including the crowd reviving the “Lock her up!” chant as Trump assailed his 2016 presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton. As the report noted, Clinton is a frequent target of Trump at rallies despite fading away from politics following her loss to Trump now almost two years ago.
As Rupar also noted in his tweet, many believed that Trump was mocking Eric Garner with a line saying “they can’t breathe” in reference to the man killed while placed in a chokehold from an NYPD officer. But Rupar noted that the context was not clear, and there was no indication that Trump was referring to Garner specifically.
Trump made what looks to be an obscene gesture toward a protester as he was getting kicked out his rally tonight pic.twitter.com/OTOiEyQdZU
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 2, 2019
Trump had plenty of ire for his other potential opponents at the rally. He again took aim at a group of four Democratic congresswomen of color, whom he had attacked in a controversial tweet in which he told them to go back to their “original” countries. Three of the four had been born in the United States.
“The rage-filled Democrat Party is trying to tear America apart. The Democrat Party is now being led by four left-wing extremists who reject everything that we believe in,” Trump said, via Politico, referencing to Congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib.
— The Hill (@thehill) August 2, 2019
Trump also attacked Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren for her Native American heritage, claiming that she was “lying and cheating” her way through the Democratic primary. Trump has frequently attacked Warren, claiming that she lied about having Native American heritage in order to advance her career.
Earlier this year, Warren shared the results of a DNA test showing that she had a distant Native American relative.