At a Wednesday night Trump rally in Duluth, Minnesota, a Trump supporter (whose name has not been apparently publicly identified) violently attacked a local photojournalist who was on the scene, working with a local CBS affiliate. Photojournalist Dymanh Chhoun, whose particular CBS affiliate is called WCCO, “was attacked by a Trump supporter who was confronting a group of Joe Biden supporters,” as the outlet reports. The Trump supporter seemingly referenced Trump-driven conspiracies that the phrase “peaceful protesters” obscures violent behavior perpetrated by demonstrators, and he punched Chhoun’s phone out of his hand.
Before the attack, the man shouted:
‘You guys want to be peaceful? Be peaceful! You want to be violent? Come to me!’
You can check out a video of the altercation below:
I am outraged by this violent attack on my @wcco colleague,friend &photojournalist @Dymanh in Duluth- I am so thankful he was not hurt. The venom must stop, our photojournalists are our truest storytellers &this video tells an important,sad & terrifying one. Thx Dymanh pic.twitter.com/9caREau3HS
— esme murphy (@esmemurphy) October 1, 2020
According to WCCO, the “attack was reported to Duluth police, who say they are investigating.” Chhoun was not injured in the altercation, and WCCO says that he “identified himself as a member of the media,” although it’s not immediately clear whether that explicit self-identification took place before or after the punch.
This incident did not take place in a vacuum. President Trump himself has pushed violent rhetoric against his political opponents, including interests in the media. Although it’s unclear what the violent Trump supporter knew about Chhoun and his job and reason for being on the scene, Chhoun was clearly filming at the time of the incident. Trump has repeatedly pushed the violent, totalitarianism-leaning idea that mainstream journalists who he disagrees with — a group essentially including the majority of journalists as a whole — are the “enemy of the people.” Trump is turning his supporters against the media and their opponents in general.
Notably, the issue of violence on the part of Trump’s supporters emerged during the contentious presidential debate that took place this past Tuesday. Moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump if he would “urge [his] supporters to stay calm during this extended period, not to engage in any civil unrest” in the event of delayed election results, and Trump’s immediate response was not an unequivocal yes. Instead, he said that he is “urging my supporters to go in to the polls and watch very carefully, because that’s what has to happen,” which sounds like a tacit endorsement of physical intimidation of opponents.
Featured Image via Twitter