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A campaign event for former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who’s seeking to become governor yet again after a four-year hiatus, briefly devolved into madness Friday when a group of people began heckling his featured speaker, President Joe Biden.
But what made the spectacle particularly notable wasn’t so much the hecklers themselves but rather how the president of the United States chose to handle them.
As his supporters tried to drown out the heckler, Biden said, “That’s OK. Look, it’s not a Trump rally. Let him holler. No one’s paying attention to him.”
This prompted McAuliffe and the audience members to erupt into laughter.
“This isn’t a Trump rally,” President Biden said to a heckler at a campaign rally in Virginia. “Let them holler, no one is listening.” pic.twitter.com/7Xwgia46Mz
— LiveNOW from FOX (@livenowfox) July 24, 2021
There was just one problem …
The hecklers weren’t Trump supporters; they were left-wing environmental activists.
They were, according to Newsweek, “a group of at least three protesters” who weren’t chanting pro-Trump rhetoric but rather “Stop Line 3!”
Line 3 is an oil pipeline that delivers oil from Hardisty, Alberta, to Superior, Wisconsin. Its owner, the Canadian company Enbridge, is currently seeking to expand the line with a new pipeline segment that would run through Minnesota.
While this expansion would bring an estimated 8,600 jobs to Minnesota and also increase the amount of oil coming into the U.S., “Stop Line 3” activists oppose it because of the alleged threat of climate change and because of “environmental racism.”
“Line 3 would contribute more to climate change than Minnesota’s entire economy. Minnesota’s own Department of Commerce found our local market does not need Line 3 oil. We need to decommission the old Line 3 and justly transition to a renewable, sustainable economy,” the movement’s official website reads.
“Line 3 would violate the treaty rights of Anishinaabe peoples and nations in its path — wild rice is a centerpiece of Anishinaabe culture, it grows in numerous watersheds Line 3 seeks to cross. It’s well-past time to end the legacy of theft from and destruction of indigenous peoples and territories,” it continues.
This, according to the activists, means line 3 “fails to meet the basic standard of environmental justice,” meaning that “approving this pipeline would amount to environmental racism.”
This isn’t Trumpian rhetoric — it’s rhetoric straight out of Biden’s own playbook. There’s even a page on his 2020 campaign website with the headline “The Biden Plan to Secure Environmental Justice and Equitable Economic Opportunity.”
And so, the president wasn’t mocking Trump supporters — if anything, he was mocking his own supporters. Whoops.
Moreover, he was inadvertently also kind of mocking himself, or so his critics argue.
Joe says, “This is not a Trump rally. Nobody’s paying attention.”
Translation: At a Trump rally everyone’s paying attention. 👍🇺🇸
— David Hamilton (@David_in_Dallas) July 24, 2021
“No one’s paying attention.” – @JoeBiden
— FAILED TXN ⚠️ RESPECTOR (@cloutdisruptor) July 24, 2021
Emphasis on “no one’s paying attention” hahhahhahhahaha
— Mike Bustamante (@mikebusta6) July 24, 2021
He’s right. A Trump rally would be at least 15x larger than this or he wouldn’t waste the jet fuel to get there.
— President-Elect Vance🇺🇸 (@Vance444) July 24, 2021
Truest thing he’s said in years:
“This isn’t a Trump Rally”
We can tell Joe, Trump rallies have 10s of thousands of people at them, with thousands outside the venues.
— Ricky (@RickiBobby3_) July 24, 2021
“This is not a Trump rally”
Correct Joe. Trump can fill a stadium.
— Davelikesbacon (@davelikesbacon) July 24, 2021
Yes Joe THIS is a Trump Rally..👇https://t.co/nW3hQvP9LB
— SisterSara (@SisterSaraAnn) July 24, 2021
They weren’t wrong. The McAuliffe rally was “plagued by another small crowd,” according to Fox News. Whoops again.
None of this stopped Biden’s usual cohort of groupies from automatically assuming the hecklers were Trump supporters and from arguing, therefore, that the president’s response to the hecklers was more proof that he’s the greatest gift to humanity since the invention of sliced bread.
I like Biden more each day, not least for his terrific political wit. No one on the national stage throws shade the way he does.
— Victoria Butler (@VAButlerwrites) July 24, 2021
He’s really the best. Takes it in such stride. He knows he’s president, won the electoral college AND got millions of more votes than Trump.
— Gina Coffin (@snazzygina) July 24, 2021
What was the point of Trumpers showing up? At the end of the day, Biden is still president! This shows disrespect for their president. Trump trained his supporters well by demonstrating his hate onto other’s and to whine about his loss.
— Kelly (@KLRobbins01) July 24, 2021
It’s Virginia, trumptards everywhere
— TheSynic (@SynicThe) July 24, 2021
Again, the hecklers weren’t “trumptards.” If anything, they were “bidentards.”
Nevertheless, the president continued his stump speech by centering much of it on former President Donald Trump.
“I ran against Donald Trump, and so is Terry. I whipped Donald Trump in Virginia, and so will Terry,” he said.
He further claimed that McAuliffe’s opponent in the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial race, Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin, is “an acolyte for Donald Trump — for real.”
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