Man in MAGA hat attacks BBC cameraman after Trump whips crowd "into a frenzy"
Donald Trump's relationship with the media has been fraught throughout his two years as president - and that's putting it mildly. Even before he was handed the keys to the White House, he had coined the term "fake news" in retaliation to claims that he was sexist after a tape of him saying that famous men can do anything they want with women emerged.
Since then, multiple news outlets have referred to the 45th President of the United States as "Twitler" because of his slamming of their so-called fake news on the micro-blogging website. And because of his power and influence, his hatred of the media has been wholeheartedly adopted by his supporters, who are seemingly willing to do anything to defend the former businessman turned reality star-turned-leader of the free world. Now, a Trump supporter has come under fire for punching a BBC cameraman at a rally.
The incident took place in El Paso, Texas, when the President riled the crowd with references to allegedly false stories which have been spread about him in the press.
BBC Washington producer Eleanor Montague and Washington correspondent Gary O'Donoghue were present at the event, where they witnessed their colleague and cameraman, Ron Skeans, assaulted by an enraged supporter.
Recounting the shocking incident to the Today programme, O'Donoghue said, "It was an incredibly violent attack. Fortunately, our cameraman is fine, he is made of stern stuff."
Check out the video below to see the assault for yourself:
The journalist posted this clip of the violent moment to his Twitter account (@BBCBlindGazza). It opens with the camera focused on Trump before it is suddenly pulled away. Thrashing can be heard in the background, as well as chants of "U-S-A, U-S-A", before a flash of a "Make America Great Again" cap is seen as the Trump supporter is reprimanded by a member of security.
While being escorted away from O'Donoghue, Montague, and Skeans, the supporter shouts, "F*** the media!"
Montague stated in a tweet that the crowd were being "whipped up into a frenzy against the media by Trump and other speakers all night", and O'Donoghue tweeted how the President had been "repeatedly [goading] the crowd over supposed media bias".
This was far from an isolated incident according to O'Donoghue. "This is a constant feature of these rallies - a goading of the crowds against the media," he said. "I have been spat at before, they hurl abuse at American colleagues in particular."
Trump supporters on social media, however, begged to differ with this opinion and some suggested that the incident was staged.
But the majority of people were of the opinion that this man should be suitably punished for the assault. They also pointed out the dangers the incident highlights, if it is as O'Donoghue said, "a constant feature" of Trump rallies.
In fact, after witnessing the attack himself, President Trump briefly paused his speech to make sure Skeans was okay, and confirmed the cameraman was well with a thumbs up.
Montague did later tweet out an update on the cameraman, saying he was "fine".
Regardless of your stance on political matters, a key feature of any democracy is the ability for people to peacefully express their opinions and a free media, something which this Trump supporter has clearly tried to undermine. Hopefully, the punishment he receives will be publicized and serve as a warning to anyone else who might consider turning violent at a political event.