‘Incredibly violent’ attack against journalist at Trump’s El Paso rally recalls 2016 campaign
BBC cameraman Ron Skeans was attacked at Donald Trump’s Monday El Paso, Texas rally that the president used to drum up support for a border wall. According to the Huffington Post, an unidentified attacker stormed the stage, yelled and screamed, “fuck the media,” and shoved members of the press who were on stage. Trump’s rallies routinely feature calls for violence against the press, and sparked plenty of similar violence on the 2016 campaign trail.
The BBC’s Washington news editor Eleanor Montague tweeted that Trump had been whipping the crowd into a frenzy just prior to the incident. The BBC quickly released a statement condemning the attack: “Ron Skeans was violently pushed and shoved by a member of the crowd while covering a President Trump rally in Texas last night. The president could see the incident and checked with us that all was okay. It is clearly unacceptable for any of our staff to be attacked for doing their job.” The man, who remains unidentified, was wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, which has become a signifier of not only support for Trump but of acts of hatred and violence, such as this one.
The Rolling Stone reports that the crowd chanted “let him go!” as the attacker was led away by security. At one point, Trump also chanted “murders, murders, murders, killings, murders” to hammer home a point he was making about why the border should be protected against “illegal” immigrants. To counter his lies, El Paso Sherriff Richard Wiles released this statement a day later reading, “It is sad to hear President Trump state falsehoods about El Paso, Texas, in an attempt to justify building a 2,000-mile wall… The facts are clear. While it is true that El Paso is one of the safest cities in the nation, it has never been considered one of our nation’s most dangerous cities and El Paso was a safe city long before any wall was built.”
Meanwhile, Texas politician and rumored 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke led a counter rally in direct opposition to Trump’s, which the president said was only attended by hundreds of people when it was actually attended by thousands.