Since Trump first began his presidential campaign in 2015, he’s made a tradition of bashing the media, pointing out the press pool to the crowd to call them dishonest, liars, and losers. His rabid fanbase cheers and harasses the members of the press Trump relies on to get his message to the country.
— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) February 12, 2019
When a BBC cameraman was attacked at Trump’s El Paso, Texas rally on Monday night, it was just more of the same. This time, at least, Trump didn’t jump to defend the attacker. He didn’t promise to pay his legal bills. He just had White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders offer a generic statement that neither mentioned cameraman Ron Skeans nor offered him any apology.
The BBC reported that:
‘A White House statement did not refer to the specific incident…It said the president “condemns all acts of violence against any individual or group of people – including members of the press.”‘
JUST IN: White House press secretary Sarah Sanders has released a statement in reference to an incident at President Trump’s rally in El Paso, TX yesterday when a supporter violently shoved a BBC cameraman. https://t.co/z6ijS21xmO
— NPR Politics (@nprpolitics) February 12, 2019
The BBC says that the press, including their cameraman, was unprotected during the rally and that no one intervened while Skeans was attacked. The news outlet sent a letter asking that procedures be reviewed to offer more protection. With the 2020 presidential campaigns already underway, the process needs to begin immediately.
‘The BBC later asked the White House to review security for media attending President Trump’s rallies.
‘In a letter, the BBC said the press area was unsupervised, and no security had tried to intervene during the incident.’
— Sandy Paws (@lagloriacubano) February 12, 2019
The president’s spokespeople have not yet mentioned the letter nor any details around the incident. Michael Glassner, chief operating officer for Trump for President, Inc. said:
‘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.’
I’ve written to @PressSec asking for a full review of security arrangements for the media after last night’s attack on our BBC cameraman at the President's rally. Access into the media area was unsupervised. No one in law enforcement intervened before, during or after the attack.
— Paul Danahar (@BBCDanahar) February 12, 2019
BBC’s Americas Bureaux Editor Paul Danahar indicated that the praise for security was unwarranted. Instead, he says far more should have been done to protect Skeans and his colleagues.
‘Access into the media area last night was unsupervised and that no member of law enforcement or security stopped the attacker entering, intervened when he began his attack or followed up on the incident with our colleagues afterwards.’
Featured image screenshot via YouTube