The man who rushed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump while he was on stage at an Ohio rally gave an interview to CNN about why he did it.
Thomas DiMassimo, who was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and inducing panic, said he wanted to take the podium away from Trump. DiMassimo said he voted for Bernie Sanders in Georgia and added that his support for Sanders didn’t prompt him to rush the stage.
“I was thinking that I could get up on stage and take his podium away from him and take his mic away from him and send a message to all people out in the country who wouldn’t consider themselves racist, who wouldn’t consider themselves approving of what type of violence Donald Trump is allowing in his rallies, and send them a message that we can be strong, that we can find our strength and we can stand up against Donald Trump and against this new wave he’s ushering in of truly just violent white supremacist ideas,” DiMassimo told CNN.
The 22-year-old from Wright State University added that he “can see right through” Trump’s claims.
Thomas Dimassimo, the man who was arrested for rushing the stage at a Donald Trump rally, is from Powder Springs, GA pic.twitter.com/zriiCblcYj
— Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) March 14, 2016
He added, “I was thinking that Donald Trump is a bully, and he is nothing more than that. He is somebody who is just saying a lot of bold things, he’s making bold claims. But I can see right through that and I can see that he’s truly just a coward. And he’s opportunistic and he’s willing to destroy this country for power for himself.”
The CNN reporter asked him if he had planned to attack Trump, DiMassimo said he did not.
“No, not at all. There would have been no point. Donald Trump is 6 foot 3. I’m 5 foot 9, maybe. He’s a giant man surrounded by thousands of followers, 12 Secret Service and a former Ohio State offensive lineman. That would have accomplished nothing,” DiMassimo added.
USSS did an excellent job stopping the maniac running to the stage. He has ties to ISIS. Should be in jail! https://t.co/tkzbHg7wyD?ssr=true
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2016
DiMassimo also addressed Trump’s tweet that said he “has ties to ISIS” and “should be in jail.”
“I in no way harmed anyone, intended to harm anyone, I’m not a member of ISIS. I have no known ties to ISIS. I’ve never been out of the country; I only speak English,” DiMassimo added.
After CNN published the interview, the network came under scrutiny for giving him airtime and treating him favorably, according to the Daily Caller.
CNN is rewarding DiMassimo’s lawbreaking by giving him a NATIONAL TV PLATFORM to air his views. This is beyond reprehensible. It’s dangerous
— MAGA TBH FAM (@TrumpHat) March 13, 2016
#CNN is interviewing the violent Dayton, Ohio protestor, Tommy DiMassimo. They’re not shaming him for shaming democracy.
— Ali A. Akbar (@ali) March 13, 2016
— Silent Majority (@michael_favreau) March 13, 2016