A Boston man allegedly told police that he beat and urinated on a homeless man early Wednesday because the man was Hispanic, citing real estate mogul Donald Trump’s comments on undocumented immigrants as justification for the attack.
In response, the Republican presidential candidate said that “it would be a shame” if his anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric inspired the beating. He immediately pivoted from the mild condemnation to praising his “passionate” supporters’ commitment to restoring America to greatness.
Brothers Scott and Steve Leader pleaded not guilty to multiple charges in connection with the alleged attack, including assault with a dangerous weapon, indecent exposure and making threats, according to The Boston Globe. The men are being held without bail.
State police said the brothers were leaving a Red Sox game when they came across the 58-year-old victim sleeping at a metro stop, according to the newspaper.
A police report obtained by the Globe stated that the victim was woken up by two men urinating on his face and was then punched several times and hit with a metal pole. The victim suffered a broken nose and several bruises to his head and chest, according to the police report.
Police said Scott Leader, who was previously convicted of a hate crime for attacking a Moroccan man in the days after the 9/11 attacks, told them he targeted the victim because the man was Hispanic and homeless.
“Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported,” Leader allegedly told police, as quoted by the Globe.
Top Boston officials, including Mayor Marty Walsh (D), were quick to condemn the attack. Lawyers for the Leader brothers declined to comment on the charges, according to the Globe.
Trump was asked Wednesday night at a campaign stop in New Hampshire whether he was concerned about inciting violence with his stump speeches, according to The Boston Herald. The billionaire said he hadn’t heard about the attack, adding that he thought it “would be a shame.”
“I will say, the people that are following me are very passionate,” he continued, as quoted by the Herald. “They love this country. They want this country to be great again. But they are very passionate. I will say that.”