Unethical Quote Of The Week: Sam Liccardo (D), Mayor of San Jose, California


“At some point Donald Trump needs to take responsibility for the irresponsible behavior of his campaign,”

Mayor Sam Liccardo, of San Jose, California, in response to rioting and violent attacks on Trump rally attendees after a Trump speech.

I am searching for some tangential benefits—silver linings in clouds of gray, so to speak—from the ugly choice of Presidential candidates being foisted on us. One benefit is that the situation is relentlessly exposing the flawed and in many cases deplorable character of various public figures, journalists, and others, including friends who we once thought had admirable integrity, values and principles. Most likely to expose the rot beneath are the hyper-partisans.

The anti-Trump riots in San Jose were shocking and inexcusable, except by the most unethical use of rationalizations and bias. Nonetheless, Liccardo’s immediate public response to them was to blame Donald Trump for, I guess, making Liccardo’s citizens viciously attack Trump supporters.

Contrary to what this abominable  example of a city leader said, Trump shares no responsibility for the violence. Nothing in the “behavior” of his campaign can be fairly said to have  justified it in any way. Suggesting otherwise, as Liccardo has, is blaming the victims, justifying violence, and encouraging intimidation as a political strategy. It should disqualify the mayor for leadership, of San Jose, of  the local Rotarians. In trying to shift blame to Trump for having the audacity to express his political views,, he was demonstrating not only frighteningly warped ethics, but cowardice. The mayor doesn’t have the guts to tell his citizens that they were wrong, and to shape up. 

Better, but still exposed as despicable, was Mike Casca, Sanders’s rapid response director,who  tweeted that “we cannot stop Trump’s violent rhetoric with violence — only peaceful protest in a voting booth can do that.” None of Trump’s rhetoric has been “violent”—incoherent, foolish, dishonest, juvenile, ignorant and boorish yes, but not violent— so describing it like that is a lie, designed to minimize the violent conduct of  his opposition.

Trump may be the greatest human ethics litmus test of all time. I know I’m keeping a list.


22 thoughts on “Unethical Quote Of The Week: Sam Liccardo (D), Mayor of San Jose, California

  1. None of Trump’s rhetoric has been “violent”

    Now there I must disagree Jack. While one can rightfully criticise the following movie for juxtaposing images from the past with Trump’s present words, the words remain, and speak for themselves.

    • 1. As if those off the cuff comments by Trump about those trying to disrupt his speeches was the “rhetoric” the Mayor was referring to. Obviously the Mayor, like the rioters, was talking about his anti-Immigration rhetoric and formals statements, not “we’re bashing supporters in the face because Trump was excessive in condemning protesters at his rallies.” Come on.

      2. I’ve criticized those call-outs from Trump at his rallies. They aren’t typical of his rhetoric, and the Mother Jones juxtaposition, suggesting that he was talking about black protesters, is beyond dishonest. again, Come on. You think that’s fair? Gee, why not go all the way and show footage of the SS?

      • Having made my point – that Trump’s rhetoric has at times been violent, Counsellor :)…

        I think Instapundit is correct with this post too.


        The violence has to stop. Those who only criticize one side – as San Jose’s mayor did – are part of the precipitate, not part of the solution.

      • “Obviously the Mayor, like the rioters, was talking about his anti-Immigration rhetoric and formals statements, not “we’re bashing supporters in the face because Trump was excessive in condemning protesters at his rallies.” Come on.”

        I don’t see how that’s obvious. The first thing I thought of when I read “violent rhetoric” was Trump’s assertion that if his supporters beat up protesters, he’d pay their legal fees. He has encouraged violence more than once, including last week when he told a story about a black supporter (whom he referred to as “my African-American”) who “slugged” a protester dressed like a Klan member, to which his audience cheered. How many times would he have to do this before it could be described as “typical of his rhetoric?”

        This is not to justify the actions of the violent left-wing protesters, it’s just important to remember that Trump is the only candidate who has encouraged violence directly.

        • Missed the line about slugging the guy in the robe. Yeah, that crosses the line.

          Applauding physical force in ejecting those disrupting a private event is a far ethical cry from approving thugs beating up those who legitimately attend the event.

      • That video is the worst propaganda I’ve seen in this election cycle. It was passed around with the caption ‘Every American Must See This’ and the comments were things like ‘Jesus…..’ ‘Do you believe this?’ as it it were news reportage or something. It’s horrendously dishonest.

  2. It may not be cowardice, Jack. It could be that he is perfectly fine with what went down in San Jose. The fact is that this has become a pattern on the left, going back to the attacks on Prop 8 supporters for simply donating to support a cause. It isn’t only Trump who has been targeted by riots in recent weeks. Milo Yianopoulous and Ben Shapiro have also had speeches/events that were targeted by riots. In those cases as well, authorities in charge (this time college presidents) have virtually capitulated.

    The fact is, free speech now faces an existential threat from the left. A threat that will only grow worse if Hillary is elected. The way I see it, Donald Trump is the last line of defense for free speech in this country.

      • Maybe he doesn’t. But it takes willful blindness to ignore the pattern of conduct – and that pattern is coming from folks who are far more likely to support Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump,

  3. The anti-Trump riots in San Jose were shocking and inexcusable, except by the most unethical use of rationalizations and bias. Nonetheless, Liccardo’s immediate public response to them was to blame Donald Trump for, I guess, making Liccardo’s citizens viciously attack Trump supporters.

    I wonder what the rioters’ problem with Trump is, as they share his ethos.

  4. Regarding Trump’s “violent rhetoric”: James Taranto does an excellent job today—better than I did—explaining why this is a false equivalency:

    “Trump deserves some criticism on this score, and has received it from this column. But the moral equivalence Mrs. Clinton draws is outrageous and illiberal. For one thing, although Trump is culpable for having escalated conflicts at his past rallies, he did not initiate them. That was done by opponents who attended the rallies for the purpose of disrupting them.

    More important, although Trump was wrong to encourage his supporters to turn on the disruptors in the first place, he abandoned that tactic after its dire consequences became clear. For the past three months or so, all the escalation has come from the anti-Trump “protesters,” as the media insist on euphemistically describing them.

    HotAir’s Larry O’Connor has a roundup of reports on and images of last week’s violence, which he aptly describes as follows: “Anti-free speech thugs physically assaulted American citizens engaged in a peaceful, political assembly Thursday night outside a Donald Trump for President rally in San Jose.”

    Before physically attacking Trump supporters, the protesters chanted “Make America Mexico again.” One held a handwritten sign reading “Trump, This is Mexico! You are not welcome on Native/Mexican Soil.” (San Jose is in Northern California, some 475 miles by car from the Mexican border.)”

    • Not arguing the culpability of the “anti-Trump protesters” but “This is Mexico!” and “Native/Mexican Soil” has a solid basis … all the way to San Jose and northward … and it is often a rallying cry for Hispanics as a group — (Spain settled California in the mid-18th century) — when they feel pushed to the wall: that’s a real imaginary wall; not the Trumped-up one.

      Until 1848 California, New Mexico and other portions of the Southwest were internationally recognized provinces of Mexico.

      As early as 1845 President Polk had announced the acquisition of that territory (and more) as one of his Four Great Measures, to acquire the land all the way to the Pacific — nearly all of present-day California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. (Manifest Destiny, shades of the British Empire, was stirring in American breasts).

      To that end, Polk initiated what is known as the Mexican-American War. (I thought this was disputed until I came across this bit of information): On May 10, 1846, after Mexico had repeatedly refused to sell the property on the western coast, violence erupted between Mexican and American troops south of the Nueces River, which had previously been considered the border between the two countries. Although Polk claimed Mexicans had fired the first shot (even if justified, at enemy soldiers invading their land!) in his famous “spot resolutions” congressman Abraham Lincoln repeatedly challenged president Polk to name the exact “spot” where Mexicans first attacked American troops. Polk never met the challenge.

      Battles raged for the better part of the next two years, along the way enforcing the new Texas border at the Rio Grande, and U.S. troops flooded westward, capturing Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, and California (as well as marching as far south as Mexico City). In the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico surrendered in 1848 on U.S. terms, the United States then taking ownership of all of California, half of new Mexico, most of Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Wyoming and Colorado. (The rest of the southwest came along with the Gadsden Purchase, a comparatively bloodless event)

      The treaty called for the US to pay $15 million to Mexico and to pay off the claims of American citizens against Mexico up to $3.25 million. I’m not sure how American citizens came to be owed the $3.25 million but as far as the pittance of $15 million is concerned (about $410 million today for virtually about one-third of the country?), the Whig Intelligencer reports: “We take nothing by conquest….Thank God” This is possibly a sardonic comment since the Whigs were the only political party adamantly opposed to the war and its motivation).

      About 90% of the Mexicans resident in the captured provinces chose to remain as full citizens of the United States. They were not “immigrants” in any sense of the word. Thus, the battle cry of “This is Mexico” from those whose cultural ancestors settled the state prior to the Europeans.
      “This is Mexico” is not meant to be factual in the current sense but rather announcing they are not, as a group, to be thought of as in-comers or second-class citizens: their ancestors were here long before Trump’s. Every national/cultural enclave in the country has felt the same at one time or another: I can recall the neighborhoods of Manhattan divided, to all intents and purposes, according to the ancestry of the majority of residents; and places like Scituate, Mass. which was and still is “Ireland” to nearly 50% of its population and the rest by default.

      “This is Mexico” is not the beginning (and probably not the end) of the story either. Factually . . . flowing back from today’s United States-hood, we have the Mexican period from 1821 to 1848; the Spanish colonial period, 1769-1821; the European exploration period, 1542-1769; and the Native American time, ? to 1542.
      Coincidentally … gold was discovered in California just days before Mexico ceded the land to the United States.

      • Statute of limitations. Mexico exist because Spain took territory away from native tribes. Is Manhattan native American territory? The contract for its purchase was a fraud.

        Too late, legally and practically, and because it’s too late, stupid and a distraction….and unethical. If there are no positive practical results of an action except to continue resentment and hate, it’s wrong.

        • No argument, Jack. Just explaining why those of Hispanic descent are using their (and California) history to refute the implications that they are one-and-all, dirty, ignorant, border-jumping, illegal, newly in-coming, job-grabbing interlopers undeserving of respect.

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