Presidential Politics Trump Anaheim Council Meeting

Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald J Trump hold up signs in the Anaheim City Council chambers during Tuesday night's contentious Council meeting.

Adam Elmahrek/Voice of OC

Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald J Trump hold up signs in the Anaheim City Council chambers during Tuesday night's contentious Council meeting.

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The scene at Anaheim City Hall Tuesday in many ways resembled a typical rally thrown by Republican presidential candidate Donald J Trump.

There were flashes of violence between pro and anti-Trump protesters, verbal bashings of undocumented immigrants and Muslims, and even a finger-pointing condemnation of the reporters penned up in the back of the City Council chambers.

But there was one big difference – Trump wasn’t there. He was 3,000 miles away celebrating primary victories on the East Coast and likely oblivious to the whole show.

The usual media circus and volatile mix of protesters surrounding the Donald came together in Anaheim because of a resolution proposed by Councilwoman Kris Murray condemning Trump’s “divisive rhetoric.”

Murray said it was important for the council to take a stand against the GOP front-runner’s comments during one of the most raucous presidential campaign seasons in recent memory, particularly since Anaheim’s residents are majority Latino and the city is home to one of the country’s largest Muslim populations. Murray said she wanted to give voice to the “voiceless” victims of Trump’s rhetoric.

Trump started his insurgent campaign by calling Mexican immigrants rapists and killers, outraging many but attracting a large swath of the Republican base. He later called for a ban on Muslims entering the country.

Murray ultimately backed off after dozens of public speakers – including Trump supporters and residents who said they didn’t like Trump – criticized the resolution as an inappropriate intervention by the city government into a U.S. presidential campaign.

“Any staff time that was dedicated to this issue should be billed directly to you [Murray],” said Jeanine Robbins, an Anaheim resident who said she didn’t like Trump’s rhetoric.

Murray suggested removing Trump’s name from the resolution and broadening it to include all divisive rhetoric uttered by candidates in the presidential race. But she couldn’t get support from her colleagues. Mayor Tom Tait argued it was a materially different resolution that should be taken up at a future meeting so members of the public could weigh in.

In the end, the council voted 3-2 to take no action on any resolutions. Tait and council members James Vanderbilt and Lucille Kring voted in the majority, while Murray and Councilman Jordan Brandman were opposed.

Hours earlier, pro and anti-Trump protesters reportedly clashed outside City Hall. A grandmother and her two young daughters – all Trump supporters – were pepper sprayed by an anti-Trump supporter, according to witnesses. And television news broadcasts showed a pro-Trump supporter going after someone with a taser.

The chaos continued to flare inside the council chambers, with several face-offs between pro and anti-Trump activists. At one point, the mayor ordered two men to leave the chambers after an altercation involving a video camera.

Trump supporters denied that their candidate for president was a racist and went so far as to describe him as “pure-hearted” and “kind.” They said he just wants to control the nation’s borders and vet the people coming into the country, and that he isn’t beholden to wealthy campaign donors or “politically correct” thinking.

They also accused the Anaheim council of trying to restrict the free speech rights of their favored candidate.

“I have a right to live in a country free of illegal immigrant invasion,” said Wes Parker, a Bellflower resident. He added that Trump would unite families in Mexico by deporting immigrants from the U.S.

“Donald Trump will bring joy and happiness to the whole world,” Parker said.

Only a handful of speakers supported Murray’s resolution outright. Among them was former council candidate Bill Dalati, who said Murray’s resolution had been “misread” as trying to prevent Trump from being elected president.

Dalati’s four children spoke after him and, as they referred to Islam as a religion of peace, Trump supporters jeered at them.

“I’m 14, but I’m acting way more mature and respectful than the people on this side,” one of his daughters shot back.

And as Trump supporters shouted her down, city resident and Arab-American activist Rida Hamida invited them to dine in Little Arabia, a stretch of Brookhurst dotted with Arab shops and restaurants.

When the debate shifted to the council, Tait said it wasn’t the business of the Anaheim council to be taking positions on specific presidential candidates, saying there’s supposed to be an “iron wall” between government and political campaigns.

“It’s a political action we’re not supposed to take,” Tait said. “It’s divisive, and it’s politics. It doesn’t belong in a government building.”

Murray disagreed, saying she didn’t call for the resolution for “any political purpose.” She said she was merely trying to take a stand on behalf of her residents.

“Hate speech cannot be couched, it cannot be excused as straight talk,” Murray said.

And although she lost in her bid to adopt the resolution, Murray said she nonetheless had a personal message for Trump.

“We can never keep our nation great by dividing our nation,” she said.

Please contact Adam Elmahrek directly at aelmahrek@voiceofoc.org and follow him on Twitter: @adamelmahrek

  • Kathleen Tahilramani

    How ill considered and well just plain stupid. The residents of Anaheim are smart enough to make up their own minds and they sure don’t need Kris Murry’s “help”. This smacks of opportunistic political grandstanding on a clearly heated issue. The city is lucky nobody got hurt and I bet the Anaheim PD got some good OT on this unnecessary little gathering of dust-up’s.

    • LFOldTimer

      What do you mean nobody got hurt? How can you say that? A grandmother and her 2 innocent minor grandchildren (8 and 11 years old) were pepper sprayed in the face by some anti-Trump male protester about 30 years old. They had to be treated by emergency personnel. I saw a photo of the little 8 year girl. She was hysterical and in tears.

      • Kathleen Tahilramani

        Sorry about that oversight. Let me re-word. “the city is lucky nobody got put in the hospital with serious injuries or worse”. No intent on my part to diminish the pain of being pepper sprayed for a child or an adult – that has to be tramatic. Thanks for the head-up as I totally overlooked that part of the story.

  • Kristi

    Trump has done nothing but divide this country for his own ego stroking. Trumpets will regret ever voting for him if he becomes President. God forbid he wins.

  • LFOldTimer

    So now it’s reported in the news that Kris “the clown” Murray will not pursue any more resolutions of condemnation against Trump. Duh? It took her long enough to figure out that she stepped in it up to her hip bone. Now not only do the Latinos hate her. The Trump supporters hate her too! Smooth move, Kris. Who is your political advisor? Anthony Weiner?

  • LFOldTimer

    Trump is already ahead in the Ca polls 49% to Cruz’ 22% to Kasich’s 20%. Trump has a higher percentage than both of his competitors combined. So all this recent Trump bashing is only helping him. And the violence perpetrated on the pro-Trump grandmother and her 2 minor grandchildren by the anti-Trump protester will make Trump’s approval ratings soar even higher!

    Looks to me that Trump is in the catbird’s seat. No wonder the measure was tabled at the Council meeting. Smart politicians always side with a winner. The stupid ones support losers.

    I believe this will cost Murray her next run for political office.

    The Latino voters will certainly see through the smoke and mirrors and the Trump supporters will vote her down.

    Really, really dumb.

  • Paul Lucas

    So she was successful in elevating her name ID on the publics dime so its not a total wash eh? Why was brandman so gung ho about this resolution by murray?

    • RyanCantor

      When has Brandman EVER not been gung ho about anything Murray supported . . .

      • Paul Lucas

        bazinga

  • RyanCantor

    “Murray said she wanted to give voice to the ‘voiceless’ victims of Trump’s rhetoric.”

    Good thing Kris Murray spent MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars to oppose district based elections, which give a voice to the voiceless residents in her city.

    Unfreaking believable. Only in Anaheim.

    • David Zenger

      Yep. This was just a political stunt to curry favor with the same Latinos she was happy to keep from having district representation. What a load. Fortunately it backfired badly.

      Nice to watch Kring chicken out.

  • David Zenger

    “And although she lost in her bid to adopt the resolution, Murray said she nonetheless had a personal message for Trump.”

    Next time just send him an e-mail, okay?