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The California Governor Who Refused to Call Out the National Guard

Media contact:
David Perry & Associates, Inc. / David Perry / / (415) 676-7007

President Trump’s Republican Role Model:

The California Governor Who Refused to Call Out the National Guard and Promised to Pardon Anyone Convicted of a Lynching.


1 September 2020 – San Francisco, CA: A pardon promise at the height of the Great Depression by the Chief Constitutional Officer of the State of California, Republican Governor James “Sunny Jim” Rolph, shamelessly exploited—as President Trump is shamelessly exploiting—the political and moral gravitas of his elected office. The evening of the Sabbath, the day after Governor Rolph’s pardon promise was carried on radio stations and in newspapers throughout California, a press-estimated mob of five to ten thousand men, women, and children jammed St. James Park in San Jose, California (in present-day Silicon Valley), to witness the lynching of two men falsely accused of the kidnapping and murder of the scion of a wealthy San Jose retailor. 

Author John D. Murphy capsulized the intensity of the horrific event in his book American Incendiary Populism: “The blood-lust vigilante howl of the hometown lynch mob was heard ten miles away.”

Murphy,  a founder of the University of Phoenix authored an insider account of its formation and what transpired at the nation’s first accredited for-profit university after he resigned in 1997: “Mission Forsaken: The University of Phoenix Affair with Wall Street.”Subsequently, he wrote and produced the award-winning feature film, Valley of the Heart’s Delight based on the Republican politics of the 1933 San Jose lynching starring Pete Postlethwaite, Bruce McGill, and Gabriel Mann.

Murphy argues that President Trump, like Governor Rolph, is the political beneficiary of the heartless complicity of fellow Republicans by his endorsement of armed citizens engaging demonstrators ludicrously depicted as tools of a vast radical left-wing conspiracy.  “Unread and uninformed about the inherent dangers of populist pandering, President Trump and his spineless Republican fellow travelers constitute a lethal challenge to the most successful and admired democracy in world history,”  Murphy warns.

“Even the monomaniac ego of President Trump has some catching up to do with fellow Republican Rolph,” Murphy went on to say. On the afternoon prior to the San Jose lynching , Governor Rolph canceled his trip to the Western Governor’s Conference in Boise, Idaho to prevent Democratic Governor Frank Merriam from deploying the National Guard because he had left the state. The morning following the lynching,  despite gruesome descriptions of the horrific lynching in newspapers and stomach-turning coverage filmed live by newsreel cameramen, Rolph boastfully renewed his pardon pledge.

“Governor Rolph’s gilding of his refusal to call out the National Guard with the pardon promise had electrified news editors and publishers who dispatched some two hundred reporters, photographers, and cameramen to witness the biggest news story since the Crash of ’29,” Murphy recounts. Murphy asserts the free press was complicit in protecting the lynchers by disfiguring faces in news photos. “Two innocent local men were convicted in the court of public opinion and executed because of the ‘get out of jail free’ card issued by Governor Rolph. President Trump is effectively providing the same pass to armed citizens confronting demonstrators,”  Murphy asserts. 

A subsequent charade to hold  the lynchers accountable pointedly excluded Governor Rolph and the 60 some members—respected business and civic leaders—of a San Jose Vigilance Committee who executed a successful conspiracy to remain anonymous. Later appointed Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court by President Eisenhower, then Alameda County District Attorney Earl Warren, oversaw a coroner’s jury hearing into the death of the victim of the kidnapping and murder allegedly avenged by the lynching because his body had been discovered in Alameda County. Warren publicly faulted his fellow law enforcement and government colleagues for failing to properly enforce the law and falsely blamed the lynching on otherwise honest, decent, and law-abiding citizens who supposedly rose up spontaneously in the quest for justice in a broken system.

Warren made no mention of the highly visible public role of fellow Republican James Rolph or the anonymous San Jose Vigilance Committee conspirators in providing absolute freedom from criminal or moral accountability  for all those participating in or witnessing the lynching.

“President Trump’s consummate failure to be a leader for all the people has resulted in the deaths of over 180,000 Americans from the pandemic, a number he and his minions blithely dismiss as statistics. Trump’s profoundly reckless fomenting of violence between citizen and citizen must absolutely be rejected in November’s presidential election ,” Murphy strongly believes.