By Eric Beasley
UPDATE: I have received an official statement from the Maryland for Ted Cruz Campaign.
Did anyone actually believe that we would be able to have a presidential candidate in town without some sort of controversy? Aw, honey…
A few posts and reports have come out of Facebook in the last few hours. I’m going to break this down very simply. There are two sides to this story: both sides have facts, and both sides have opinions. As usual, it’s up to you to decide who is right and who is wrong. A Miner Detail is in the business of facts; that’s it.
I reached out to the teenager who was removed from Ted Cruz’s Frederick rally, the attendees at the rally, and representatives from Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign. This article will be updated as new comments and statements come in.
This article will be updated as new comments and statements come in.
After some digging through Facebook messages, I was able to get the student on the phone. The student removed from the rally is 16-year-old James, currently a student at Thomas Johnson High School and the president of the TJHS LBGT club. Also fortunately for our readers, James was very up front about being transgendered, and he spoke candidly the situation that unfolded today. James is biologically a female but lives as a male. Because #Liberty.
According to James, his parents are politically active. He wanted to go down to Cruz’ rally out of a personal interest in politics. He believed this was a great opportunity to show the Cruz community that he is not some sort of monster, deviant, or mind-flayer.
Prior to the event, James was with a small group of protesters across the street. James claims that he was holding signs that stated “Ignorance breeds hate” and “Human rights are not up for debate.” Some pictures verified the content of the signs.
They reserved tickets, showed up at the door, and made their way into the Weinberg. As all kids do these days, James told me that he pulled out his phone. Shortly after sitting down, someone approached James and told him that the event staff wanted him to leave. Once outside the main area, James continued to inquire about why he was being kicked out. The only answer he received was that the “campaign [Cruz’s campaign] did not want me there.” James believes that he was removed because he is transgendered.
After hearing Jame recount the events from the Cruz rally, I told him that I wanted to ask him some direct and blunt questions. When I asked if he was planning on disrupting the event, he said, emphatically, that he had no intention of disrupting the event. He was there to observe the process and see the target audience of Sen. Cruz’s speech.
I also asked, point blank, about the party affiliation of his parents. Both parents are Democrats, and James also leans Democrat.
I mentioned the criticism that he has already started receiving; basically that this entire controversy was contrived and falsely created to make a point. James responded to the criticism by saying “Do not assume my identity defines my political beliefs. I am not the enemy”
Editor’s opinion: It’s hard to judge someone over the phone. I found James to be a coherent and thoughtful young man. A pretty stark contrast to my usual interactions with those damn kids these days. I did have to give James a bit of an earful at the end. I personally let him know that Republicans are a very diverse group of people and that we are not all TheoCons (had to teach him that term). I told him about a dear friend of mine, Trish, who is also trans gendered, but yet Libertarian almost to the point of anarchist. He also has a standing invitation from me to the Republican Club and Young Republicans here in Frederick County.
The Ted Cruz Campaign
I received an official statement from the Ted Cruz Campaign here in Maryland, ran by the wonderful Maria Pycha, Bongino alumni and personal friend. I only mention that because if Maria says something happened, I know she will be honest and upfront about it. The statement:
I know for a fact it was not a campaign official who escorted that young man out. We have specific protocol. We give a warning if they cause a disturbance the first first time, escorted out by police if they cause a disturbance the second time.
Editor’s Opinion: Maria is one of the good folks involved in politics around here. I fully believe her statement that it was not an official campaign staffer who asked James to leave. Staffers are vetted and know the policies and procedures. On the other hand, volunteers are not always as well-versed in how everything works. Hopefully, some more information will come out in the next day.
The Event Organizers
I also reached out to Delegate Kathy Afzali, who was photographed introducing Senator Ted Cruz at the event and is involved with the Frederick County campaign operations. You want to talk about a blow-off? She claimed to have “no information” about the events that transpired.
Editor’s Opinion: There are two possibilities here: either Afzali lied, or she is just so incompetent at campaign management that she does not know what the campaign she is running is doing. Or perhaps there’s a 3rd option? Delegate Afzali’s opinion of the LBGT population is not exactly a secret, she “hates ‘dem gays” with a passion.
The Eyewitness #1
I also spoke briefly to a person in attendance at Cruz’s Frederick rally. This person did not witness James being removed from the event; however, this person did see James on the opposite side of the street with a group of protesters – a fact that James did mention to me on the phone. Some of these signs were….shall we say…. pretty mean. Like the sign claiming that Senator Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer, despite the fact that the Senator’s age makes it impossible, as the first victim of the Zodiac Killer was killed two years before Cruz was born.
Editor’s Opinion: I am not saying that this is right or wrong, just merely that it is a possibility. Perhaps the Ted Cruz Campaign noticed that James was with the protest group after he made his way into the Weinberg and decided to remove him due to his association with the protesters. You, as the reader, can decide if this is the case.
The Eyewitness #2
I spoke to someone who was working the event today. According to them, there was a strict policy to be enforced for people in the audience. This included no handmade signs and no “strange materials”. Any material allowed within the Weinberg had to be branded by Ted Cruz’s campaign. When James came into the Weinberg, he was wearing what looked like a shower curtain with metal hooks.
Editor’s Note: I believe this shower curtain was actually a flag that James had worn outside. According to James, this is the transgender pride flag. If this was the case, why didn’t they just ask James to remove the flag? Since when were the security policies surrounding presidential candidate visits written by the TSA?
This post will be updated as more information is made available.