A belligerent man at President Donald Trump’s campaign rally on the Texas border apparently attacked news crews, 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.
BBC 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.”
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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.”
“We need the wall, and it has to be built, and we want to build it fast,” Trump said as people in the crowd chanted, “Build that wall!”
“Now, you really mean finish the wall,” he responded.
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 “an individual involved in a physical altercation with a news cameraman was removed from last night’s rally.”
“We appreciate the swift action from venue security and law enforcement officers,” Glassner said.
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.
A photographer based in El Paso tweeted another video that appeared to show the man was removed from the press area.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders released a statement on Tuesday afternoon 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.
The White House Correspondents’ Association had condemned the attack and asked that the president “make absolutely clear to his supporters that violence against reporters is unacceptable,” before Sanders’ statement.
“We are relieved that, this time, no one was seriously hurt,” Olivier Knox, the association’s president, said.
Trump has repeatedly attacked the U.S. news media, labeling journalists the “enemy of the American people” and often calling coverage that is unflattering to him “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.
Describing the Monday altercation, a reporter for the Washington Examiner wrote on Twitter that leading up to the encounter, Trump had “railed against all the media.”
After the incident, however, Trump pointed toward the crowd and asked: “You all right? Everything okay?”
Then he flashed a thumbs-up.