Donald Trump Jr. is on tour right now to promote his new book, Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us, which purports to expose the vast array of tricks that left-wing activists use to silence conservative voices across America. His appearance at the UCLA campus on Sunday, in theory, provided the perfect opportunity to illustrate his thesis: that a generation of quasi-socialists are too fragile to tolerate opposing viewpoints and are weaponizing the heckler's veto to systematically destroy the country's proud legacy of free speech.
Trump and his girlfriend, former Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle, were indeed booed lustily, and were forced to leave the stage after just 20 minutes. But as The Guardian reports, the jeers came not from hordes of hysterical liberal snowflakes, but instead from a vocal contingent of Trump supporters who were furious that the president's son, self-proclaimed champion of the free exchange of ideas, wouldn't take questions from the audience. Organizers claimed that "time constraints" didn't allow for an audience-questioning period; the event was supposed to last two hours. Enthusiastic chants of "U-S-A" gave way to angry chants of "Q-and-A" after the announcement, The Guardian says, and an unrelenting chorus of boos.
Trump tried appealing to the crowd, saying: “Name a time when conservatives have disrupted even the furthest leftist on a college campus. It doesn’t happen that way. We’re willing to listen.”
He was then interrupted by a member of the audience who shouted, “Then open the Q&A!”
"The reason oftentimes it doesn’t make sense to do the Q&A is not because we’re not willing to talk about the questions, ’cause we do," responded Trump. "No, it’s because people hijack it with nonsense looking to go for some sort of sound bite. You have people spreading nonsense, spreading hate, trying to take over the room.”
As Trump Jr. and fellow conservative media personality Charlie Kirk sat stone-faced, Guilfoyle attempted to restore calm by, in order, scolding protestors for bringing shame upon their families and screaming, "WE ARE HAPPY TO ANSWER THE QUESTION!" When neither strategy elicited the results for which she hoped, she deployed some roast material that really could have used a few more hours of workshopping. "Let me tell you something," she said. "I bet you engage and go on online dating, because you're impressing no one here to get a date in person!" (Of course, nothing demonstrates one's cultural fluency in 2019 quite like making fun of people who use dating apps.)
The malcontents were apparently part of a fringe group that believes the White House, weighed down by Deep State conspirators and insufficiently conservative voices, is abandoning the most extreme promises of Donald Trump's presidential candidacy. The group's leader, a 21-year-old self-described "nationalist" who participated in the 2017 white supremacy rallies in Charlottesville, has been beefing of late with Kirk's more mainstream pro-Trump organization, Turning Point USA, in a struggle for power within the ranks of young MAGA enthusiasts.
The conservative movement has long excoriated the alleged scourge of militant "political correctness," especially on college campuses. Trump Jr.'s publication of Triggered—and his book tour's lineup of made-for-virality public appearances—makes him just one of many prominent right-wing personalities who cynically attempt to monetize the outrage of the woke.
Outside the auditorium, about three dozen actual anti-Trump protestors banged drums and displayed anti-Trump signs, according to The Washington Post. Campus police told the Los Angeles Times that no arrests or physical confrontations took place.
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All he ever wanted was to make his dad proud, but things have never turned out quite right for Donald Trump Jr. Even now, despite finding his purpose as a bombastic star of the far right, Junior’s personal life is in shambles and the specter of Robert Mueller looms large. As Julia Ioffe discovers in talking to old friends and Trump World insiders, it’s never been trickier to be the president’s son.
Originally Appeared on GQ