Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-768ffcd9cc-jp8mt Total loading time: 0.693 Render date: 2022-12-04T21:19:30.945Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

3 - “Get ’Em Out!”: The Meaning of Ejecting Protesters

from Part I - Dividing the American Public

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 September 2020

Janet McIntosh
Brandeis University, Massachusetts
Norma Mendoza-Denton
University of California, Los Angeles
Get access


This chapter analyzes over fifty cases in which Trump sought to remove confrontational protestors during his campaign rallies. Consideration of the linguistic and semiotic form of Trump’s instructions shows that, most often, they consisted of a grammatical imperative, “Get them out,” addressed to his supporters or to event security. The activity of removing protestors became a tool of interactional messaging which not only allowed Trump to signify about his own self-image but also created opportunities for supporters to embody and enact the political project that Trump advocated. The semiotic notion of “iconicity,” in which a sign represents by way of a resemblance or similarity with its object, provides a key to understanding these events. Trump’s ejecting protestors not only allowed Trump to communicate an image of strong, masculine leadership, but also diagrammed aspects of his proposed policies. The very action of ejecting protestors served as a kind of portrait in miniature of Trump’s promised immigration policy; ejected protestors stood for those persons labelled illegal immigrants who would, Trump promised, be deported. “Get them out” thus came to allude to a large-scale redistribution of power and agency, a new morally righteous populism, that his leadership would bring about.

Language in the Trump Era
Scandals and Emergencies
, pp. 63 - 73
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Anderson, Ben. 2017. “‘We Will Win Again. We Will Win a Lot’: The Affective Styles of Donald Trump.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space (open site). Scholar
CNN. 2015. “Trump: Maybe Protester ‘Should Have Been Roughed Up.’” CNN, November 22, 2015. Scholar
CNN 2017. “Protester Pushed at 2016 Trump Rally.” CNN, April 2, 2017. Scholar
Conroy, Scott. 2016. “Donald Trump Says He Might Pay Legal Fees for Man Who Sucker-Punched a Protester.” Huffington Post, March 13, 2016. Scholar
Drum, Kevin. 2016. “Donald Trump Is Basically Encouraging Violence Now.” Mother Jones, March 13, 2016. Scholar
Hall, Kira, Goldstein, Donna Meryl, and Ingram, Matthew Bruce. 2016. “The Hands of Donald Trump: Entertainment, Gesture, Spectacle.” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 6, no. 2: 71100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Inside Edition. 2016. “Trump Supporter Who Punched Protester: Next Time, We Might Have to Kill Him.” Inside Edition, March 10, 2016. Scholar
Irvine, Judith, and Gal, Susan. 2000. “Language Ideology and Linguistic Differentiation.” In Regimes of Language: Ideologies, Polities, and Identities, edited by Kroskrity, Paul V., pp. 3584. School of American Research Press.Google Scholar
Lempert, Michael, and Silverstein, Michael. 2012. Creatures of Politics: Media, Message, and the American Presidency. Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
Mazzarella, William. 2019. “Brand(ish)ing the Name, or Why Is Trump So Enjoyable?” In Sovereignty, Inc.: Three Inquiries in Politics and Enjoyment, edited by William Mazzarella, Eric L. Santer and Aaron Schuster, pp. 113–160. University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Peirce, Charles Sanders. 1998. The Essential Peirce: Selected Philosophical Writings: Volume 2 (1893–1913). Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
Politico Staff. 2016. “Full transcript: Third 2016 Presidential Debate.” Politico, October 20, 2016. Scholar
Rappeport, Alan, and Haberman, Maggie. 2016. “For Donald Trump, ‘Get ’Em Out’ Is the New ‘You’re Fired.’” The New York Times, March 13, 2016. Scholar
Silverstein, Michael. 2017. “Message, Myopia, Dystopia.” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 7, no. 1: 407–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Trump, Donald. 2015a. Trump Campaign Rally, Phoenix, AZ. July 11, 2015.Google Scholar
Trump, Donald.2015b. Trump Press Conference, Birch Run, MI. August 11, 2015. Scholar
Trump, Donald.2015c. Trump Campaign Rally, Miami, FL. October 23, 2015.Google Scholar
Trump, Donald.2015d. Trump Campaign Rally, Springfield, IL. November 9, 2015.Google Scholar
Trump, Donald.2015e. Trump Campaign Rally, Birmingham, AL. November 21, 2015.Google Scholar
Trump, Donald.2016a. Trump Campaign Rally, Burlington, VT. January 7, 2016.Google Scholar
Trump, Donald.2016b. Trump Campaign Rally, Iowa City, IA. January 26, 2016.Google Scholar
Trump, Donald.2016c. Trump Campaign Rally, Cedar Rapids, IA. February 1, 2016.Google Scholar
Trump, Donald.2016d. Trump Campaign Rally, Las Vegas, NV. February 22, 2016.Google Scholar
Trump, Donald.2016e. Trump Campaign Rally, Radford, VA. February 29, 2016.Google Scholar
Trump, Donald.2016f. Trump Campaign Rally, Louisville, KY. March 1, 2016.Google Scholar
Trump, Donald.2016g. Trump Campaign Rally, Cadillac, MI. March 4, 2016.Google Scholar
Trump, Donald.2016h. Trump Campaign Rally, Fayetteville, NC. March 9, 2016.Google Scholar
Trump, Donald.2016i. Trump Campaign Rally, St. Louis, MO. March 11, 2016.Google Scholar
Vitali, Ali. 2016. “Man Charged with Assault after Punching Protester at Trump Event.” NBC News. March 10, 2016. Scholar

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats