Earlier this week, about 30 black college students were removed from a Donald Trump rally in Georgia, apparently at behest of the campaign. On Thursday, local law enforcement corroborated the students’ claims that they had been ejected at the campaign’s request.
Campaign representatives have repeatedly denied that the Valdosta State University students’ removal was initiated at the candidate or the campaign’s request, and on Tuesday, Trump himself said, “I had nothing to do with it!” (That is not exactly the same thing.)
Speaking to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Thursday, however, both the county sheriff and the city police chief maintained that the Trump campaign had asked them to remove the students.
“A member of the [Trump] event staff approached a member of our agency and requested that the group be asked to leave,” Captain Stryde Jones, Lowndes County sheriff, said.
Likewise, Chief Brian Childress, of the Valdosta Police Department, said, “I spoke to a Trump staffer, whose name I do not have, she told us that they needed to leave.”
“Not only did I talk to a Trump staffer, so did the University police, and we were told over the radio by the Sheriff’s office that Trump staff wanted them out.”
In a statement, campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks continued to deny responsibility: “The campaign had no knowledge of the incident until after reading these false reports.”