The baby was one row in front of me, three or four rows from the stage, at Trump’s event at a high school in Ashburn, Va. When it began to cry, Trump said, “Don’t worry about that baby, I love babies. I love babies. I hear that baby crying, I like it. I like it. What a baby, what a beautiful baby. Don’t worry, don’t worry. The mom’s running around — don’t worry about it.”
People applauded. One minute later, though, the baby began to cry again. This time, the mother quickly decided to take the baby out of the room. Trump, looking in our direction, appeared to notice that she was on her way to the exit.
And then he said, “Actually, I was only kidding. You can get the baby out of here. That’s all right. Don’t worry. I think she really believed me that I love having a baby crying while I’m speaking?” He cupped his hand over his eyes to watch her leave. “That’s okay, people don’t understand. That’s okay.”
A joke? Possibly. An insensitive, heartless, ordinary-person-embarrassing remark? Possibly. Trump’s tone is eternally hard to read. But, to my eyes, it certainly was not an ejection — it was an unusually barbed endorsement of the mother’s own decision to depart.
One other salient fact is missing from all the pieces on babygate. Mom and baby, very much not kicked out, came back to their seat a bit later.
The baby was sucking a pacifier, silent.