For the last few weeks, Donald Trump Jr. has been promoting a new book that attacks and misgenders transgender athletes. But surprisingly, he was heckled at an event this weekend not because of his anti-trans views but by those who were ostensibly there to support him.
The president’s oldest son and namesake has been touring the country to promote Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us, a new book in which he claims that liberals are afraid to engage in dialogue. Released last week, the book takes aim at the phenomena of “political correctness” and “shadow banning” as tactics to “smear conservatives and push them out of the public square.”
But after criticizing progressives for stifling debate, one of the rules for an event held at UCLA on Sunday was that there could be no Q&A. Scheduled to last two hours, attendees grew antsy after just 20 minutes and began shouting him down by chanting: “Q and A!”
Trump Jr. told the crowd that taking questions would be too risky because it would create soundbytes that liberals and the media could take out of context. “People hijack it with nonsense looking to go for some sort of sound byte,” he said. “You have people spreading nonsense, spreading hate, trying to take over the room.”
“I’m willing to listen,” he added.
“Then open the Q and A!” someone in the crowd shouted back.
Also present was Kimberly Guilfoyle, an attorney and former Fox News personality who is also Trump Jr.’s girlfriend. At one point she took a mic and screamed at the crowd, “You’re not making your parents proud by being rude and disruptive.” As the crowd jeered, she interjected with a confusing jab, “Let me tell you something, I bet you engage and go on online dating because you’re impressing no one here to get a date in person.”
As chants of “America first!” grew from the crowd, Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle walked off stage, unable to control their own event.
Among those shouting in the crowd was right-wing podcaster Nick Fuentes, who later claimed credit on Twitter for disrupting the event. Fuentes supporters told The Guardian afterward that Trump’s administration has become infected with “fake conservatism,” as well as what they described as secret government spies who sabotage Trump’s true agenda.
Other disgruntled attendees said that they were hoping to press Trump Jr. on issues like immigration and Christianity.
Prior to the recent fracas, transphobia had been the main component of Trump Jr.’s increasingly disastrous book tour. In the 304-page volume, the first son singles out retired MMA fighter Fallon Fox to claim that trans athletes should not be allowed to compete in sporting events in accordance with their lived gender. “When we allow mediocre men to compete in women’s sports,” he writes, “we do a disservice to all the hardworking young women who have fought to get to where they are.”
After also targeting trans cyclist Rachel McKinnon on Twitter, Trump Jr. rehashed the same transphobic talking points on CBS This Morning, even as the hosts attempted to cut him off.
“Trans women in sports: Identify as you want,” he said. “I think it’s wonderful. I don’t care, but when you start saying, 'I’m a man, I become a woman, I’m now winning national championships, setting weightlifting world records, displacing women who’ve worked their entire lives…'”
The hosts quickly changed the subject.
But Trump Jr.’s disastrous press cycle shouldn’t be a shock. In the past, he’s criticized families for supporting trans children, defended name-calling of trans kids, and “liked” transphobic tweets regarding whistleblower Chelsea Manning.