- Text smaller
- Text bigger
A heckler blasted Barack Obama during the president's speech in Los Angeles this week, calling him the "anti-Christ" and warning him that he would be "destroyed," before being ushered out by a police officer.
When Obama got up to speak, the man, wearing a blue shirt and standing at the front of an otherwise Obama-adoring crowd, shouted: "Jesus Christ created the heaven and the earth. ... You are the anti-Christ. You are the anti-Christ. … You will be destroyed. You will be destroyed.'
Amid a mixture of cheers and boos from the crowd, with several people shaking their heads, the man continued shouting as an officer came and took his arm and led him away.
Obama waited until the interruption was over then told the crowd at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College: "I've actually met that guy before. … A couple years ago, and he had the same line. He needs to update his material."
The heckler appeared to make no move toward the president, satisfied simply to shout, and Secret Service agents did not take any action.
The fact that the Secret Service, who are conspicuous wherever the president goes, did not immediately try to silence the man is not unusual.
According to Dan Bongino, a 12-year veteran of the Secret Service and the author of the New York Times bestselling book "Life Inside the Bubble: Why a Top-Ranked Secret Service Agent Walked Away from It All," agents are trained to be careful not to impede a protester's right to free speech.
"(Agents) are not allowed to remove even the most vocal protesters unless they either vocalize a threat, or make a furtive move in the direction of the president. If they do otherwise, they run the risk of being sued on First Amendment grounds," he said.
Bongino said agents assigned to the president surely were watching the man closely, but protocol is for the event host to permit local police to remove any hecklers for trespassing.
According to a Sept. 26, 2011, report by the Gateway Pundit blog, a heckler was shouting about Jesus Christ at Obama's appearance at the House of Blues in Los Angeles at that time.
"The heckler proclaimed that Jesus Christ is God," the report said.
Obama's fans responded with a "Four more years" chant, the report said.
The heckler, according to the report, also called Obama the anti-Christ then.