About 30 black students who were standing silently at the top of the bleachers at Donald Trump’s rally here Monday night were escorted out by Secret Service agents who said the presidential candidate had requested their removal before he began speaking.
The sight of the students, who were visibly upset, being led outside by law enforcement officials created a stir at a university that was a whites-only campus until 1963.
“We didn’t plan to do anything,” said a tearful Tahjila Davis, a 19-year-old mass media major, who was among the Valdosta State University students who was removed. “They said, ‘This is Trump’s property; it’s a private event.’ But I paid my tuition to be here.”
Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks in an email late Monday night denied that the students were shown the door “at the request of the candidate.”
“There is no truth to this whatsoever,” Hicks said, adding that “the campaign had no knowledge of this incident.”
Trump has been regularly heckled by protesters at his campaign rallies, but tensions have increased after he came under fire on Sunday for not immediately condemning support from a prominent white supremacist.