A belligerent man at President Trump’s campaign rally on the Texas border attacked news crews in attendance, shoving and swearing at a photojournalist from the BBC, according to reports and a spokeswoman for the network.
The BBC said cameraman Ron Skeans was “violently pushed and shoved by a member of the crowd” while covering the rally Monday night in El Paso, about a mile from the U.S.-Mexico border.
Spokeswoman Charlotte Morgan said that the man was removed by security and that the cameraman was fine.
“The president could see the incident and checked with us that all was okay," she said. “It is clearly unacceptable for any of our staff to be attacked for doing their job.”
It is unclear whether the man, who has not been publicly identified, will be charged. The El Paso Police Department referred inquiries to the Secret Service, which referred inquiries back to the police.
As The Post’s Philip Rucker and others reported, Trump spoke for about 75 minutes Monday, attempting “to paint an image of crime and lawlessness on the border while claiming falsely that violent crime went down in El Paso after a wall was built.”
And he also excoriated the news media at various points during the speech.
“Wow, look at all the press, can you believe that?” he said shortly after he began, pointing out the press pen to boos. “They’ve gone down a long way since they started hitting us a little bit, right? They’ve gone down. That was a long fall, but there they are.”
When asked about the incident during Monday night’s rally, Michael Glassner, who leads the Trump campaign, said in a statement that it was aware that someone had been removed from the rally after being involved in a physical altercation with the cameraman.
"We appreciate the swift action from venue security and law enforcement officers,” Glassner said.
But the BBC dispute Glassner’s assertion, saying that the attack was stopped only by a Trump-supporting blogger.
“There was no security last night," Jon Sopel, the BBC’s North America editor wrote. “Law enforcement were slow to get involved.”
Skeans, the cameraman, told BBC News that he did not see the man in the crowd coming at him, but he felt a “very hard shove” that almost knocked him down.
“I didn’t know what was going on,” he said.
Video that appeared to be from Skeans’s camera showed it falling toward the ground. Seconds later, when the picture was restored, a man in a red Make America Great Again hat could be seen being restrained as he shouted, “F--- the media!”
BBC Washington correspondent Gary O’Donoghue wrote on Twitter that the man jumped onto the media platform, “tried to smash our camera” and shoved Skeans.
Trump pointed toward the crowd and asked: “You all right? Everything okay?” and flashed a thumbs-up.
The incident drew wide outcry on Tuesday, as concerns have swelled about the potential for violence against the media after Trump began calling them, “the enemy of the people.”
The White House Correspondents’ Association condemned the attack and asked that the president “make absolutely clear to his supporters that violence against reporters is unacceptable."
“We are relieved that, this time, no one was seriously hurt,” Olivier Knox, the association’s president, said.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders released a statement shortly after that said Trump “condemns all acts of violence against any individual or group of people — including members of the press."
"We ask that anyone attending an event do so in a peaceful and respectful manner,” she said.
Trump has repeatedly attacked the U.S. news media, labeling journalists the “enemy of the American people” and calling unflattering coverage “fake news.” In the year after he was elected, Trump used the word “fake” — as in “fake news,” “fake stories,” “fake media” or “fake polls” — more than 400 times, according to a CNN analysis last year.
Sopel, the BBC editor said he did not feel that Trump’s response at the rally had gone far enough.
“President Trump interrupted his speech and checked that Ron was OK,” he wrote. “But there was no condemnation. No statement that this was unacceptable. The Trump campaign issued a two-line statement on the incident, but equally did not condemn what happened. What conclusion should we draw from that? What message does it send to people who feel hostile towards the media?”