Representatives of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign “physically restrained” a reporter from accompanying Trump on a scheduled press tour of his new hotel in Washington, in the latest episode involving an altercation between officials and Trump’s press corps.
ABC News producer Candace Smith was set to join Trump Friday as he gave a promotional tour of the Trump International Hotel in Washington’s Old Post Office Pavilion to a pool of journalists. Smith was the designated producer of the pool, a small group of journalists that provides footage to other news organizations of newsworthy events occurring in restricted spaces.
“Attempted to go on pooled tour, as is customary,” Smith tweeted Friday. “Was physically restrained from accompanying the camera.” She did not identify who had kept her from the tour. Other journalists said they witnessed the incident.
She later tweeted, “Blocked is perhaps better term. Tried to go through the door, was gently pushed back as door was closed.”
Smith, who did not respond to requests for comment, also noted that Trump permitted only TV cameras, not reporters, to accompany him on his “press” tour. She noted in a later tweet, “But this is all irrelevant. The fact is Trump didn’t allow the official pool to go with him, successfully avoiding answering any questions” after declaring at the hotel that he had reversed himself about President Obama’s place of birth after years of questioning whether he was born in the United States.
With no reporters allowed on the tour, the networks agreed to suspend their camera coverage of an event that was beginning to appear sheerly promotional. Bryan Boughton, the Fox bureau chief, speaking as the chair of the TV pool, said in a statement that “the TV Pool traditionally doesn’t participate in events that our reporters or producers are not allowed to attend.”
Trump’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
The incident involving Smith continues a string of episodes in which reporters have been subjected to physical restraint, even manhandling, while covering Trump.
The most notorious was in March when Trump’s then-campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, yanked a Breitbart News reporter, Michelle Fields, who had been questioning Trump after a news conference in Florida. Lewandowski initially denied his restraint of Fields and called her account “delusional,” although closed-circuit footage of the encounter later supported Fields.
Lewandowski, who declined to apologize to Fields, is now a pro-Trump commentator for CNN.
In addition to Fields, who was bruised by Lewandowski, two other journalists have been slightly injured in the course of covering Trump. Time photographer Christopher Morris was choke-slammed by a Secret Service officer after he sought to take pictures of protesters at a Trump rally in Virginia in February; CBS News correspondent Sopan Deb suffered a minor cut in March when he was thrown to the ground and arrested by Chicago police while recording an unruly protest outside a Trump rally.
A Washington Post reporter, Jose DelReal, was barred from entering a campaign rally for Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, in July and patted down by police officers summoned by a campaign volunteer.