ASHBURN, Virginia -- About 15 minutes into Donald Trump’s speech here, after the Republican nominee brought up his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, a small, thin voice rose up from the back of the crowd, yelling “Take the bitch down!”
It was a little boy, maybe 10 years of age or so, wearing a black Chevrolet baseball cap, camouflage shorts and a blue shirt with a Trump pin stuck to it. Not long before, he had been a visible presence in the parking lot outside the high school where Trump was speaking. He stood slightly apart from the long line of people waiting to enter the arena, holding a red, white and blue sign that read, “Hillary for Prison 2016.”
Now he was sitting with his mother and sister. His mother looked around smiling after his outburst, as even reporters used to angry and even violent outbursts at Trump events appeared stunned.
Less than five minutes later, Trump returned to the subject of Clinton. “Here’s a woman who’s a total thief. I mean she’s a crook. She’s a crook and she lies more than anybody I’ve ever seen,” Trump said.
And there it came again. “Take the bitch down!” the child yelled, while his mother looked around, still smiling.
After the event, she identified herself as Pam Kohler, of Mount Vernon, Virginia, but declined to provide her son’s name because of his age. She did, however, defend his right to hurl epithets at Clinton.
“I think he has a right to speak what he wants to," she said to reporters and camera crews who began gathering around her family. When one reporter asked her where her child had learned to use that sort of language about politicians she replied, “Democratic schools.”
This is where we are now. A major party presidential nominee can stand on a stage and accuse his opponent of literal criminality. A small boy can make his mother proud by calling a grown woman and former secretary of state a “bitch” in a public gathering.
Outside the school, there were children involved in the protests against Trump as well. But the mood was different.
One young boy held a hand-drawn sign that read, “My Dog would be a better president than you!” He had illustrated it with a picture of a tiny dog speaking into a microphone atop a flag-draped podium.