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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

RNC Day 2 Sees Alex Jones at the Heart of Public Square Kerfuffle

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2016 at 11:22 AM

click to enlarge ROSIE HANEY
  • ROSIE HANEY

Alex Jones is having a rough week.

The right-wing author, radio host, and Trump supporter known for his conspiracy theories on everything from 9/11 to organized religion is in Cleveland for the Republican National Convention doing what he does best: raising everyone’s blood pressure.

Jones entered the national spotlight nearly four years ago when he and Piers Morgan debated gun rights on Morgan’s show in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre. Since then, Jones has pivoted away from the national spotlight, but he been no less controversial.

On Monday, Jones’ speech at a rally organized by right-wing pundits called the America First Unity Rally was interrupted by comedian and talk show host Eric Andre. Ten or so minutes into the speech Jones began inviting members of the bearded, “Hilary for Prison” shirt-clad audience onstage to voice their frustrations with today’s politics.

The conversation was immediately co-opted by Andre, who grabbed the wheel and steered the speech further into absurdity. Over the course of Andre’s two minutes on stage, Jones mistook Andre for a Daily Show correspondent, and Andre offered Jones the key to his hotel, asking Jones to “have sex with my wife.”

Jones didn’t let the fiasco at the America First Unity Rally deter him from the RNC spotlight.

Around 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Jones made an unscheduled appearance at Public Square, heading straight for the podium reserved for scheduled speakers.
Between Jones and the fenced off podium were a group of protesters. Immediately, words and punches were exchanged between Jones and the protestors.

click to enlarge ROSIE HANEY
  • ROSIE HANEY
Coincidentally, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin D. Williams and a number of officers were standing near the isolated fight. Within moments, the officers broke up the fight and ferried Jones away in an unmarked vehicle. Hundreds of officers responded to the ensuing but largely non-violent chaos, walling off portions of the Square into sections to separate the ideologically different groups present.

For over an hour, the crowd was divided by officers. In one section, Dr. Cornel West, who planned a rally for 4 p.m. in the Square, delivered a speech to activists opposed to police brutality. In another section, a loosely ideologically connected group holding signs quoting scripture spoke to a group largely composed of journalists.
The protestors that traded blows with Jones have been called Communists by infowars.com— a website for which Jones is a publisher and director— and carried signs reading “labor creates all wealth,” but it is unclear what the range of their platform includes.

Following the altercation, no individuals were arrested.

Perhaps Jones should take some time off, but he probably won’t—The RNC is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. 

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