The man who was arrested after rushing at Donald Trump during a rally in Ohio this weekend is a former child actor who caused an uproar last year by standing on the American flag in an anti-racism demonstration.
Thomas Dimassimo, 22, got past some guards and rushed the stage in Dayton where Trump stood giving a speech.
Dimassimo was ultimately wrestled down by other security personnel and Trump was safe, but the incident left the Republican presidential frontrunner visibly shaken.
“I was ready for him, but it’s much easier if the cops do it, don’t we agree?” Trump said.
DiMassimo was later charged with inducing panic and disorderly conduct.
He actually alluded to his plans on Twitter prior to the event, saying: “Currently in line for the rally. Currently never been more scared in my life If I can get good thoughts and prayers from my TL (time line) it would be much appreciated. I’m at this you know what rally bout to you know what.”
On Friday he had shared a link about how the Trump rally in St. Louis turned violent, and wrote: “Donal (sic) will answer for this and more tomorrow.”
Dimassimo is a supporter of Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, and is also involved with the Black Lives Matter movement that has been behind some of the disruptions at Trump events.
Dimassimo is a fourth-year acting major at Wright State University and has played a number of small roles, appearing in television shows like “Reno 911” and “House of Payne.”
The Dayton Daily News noted that Dimassimo, who is originally from Powder Springs, Georgia, has a history of causing an uproar, such as his actions at an anti-racism protest in April 2015 at the university.
Dimassimo led an anti-racism protest that included students standing on American flags and holding signs saying, “Not my flag.”
“I thought it would ruffle some feathers, but I did not anticipate how tense the backlash would become,” Dimassimo said at the time. “If anything, all that has shown is that people in this area and people on the Internet care more about a symbolic piece of cloth, than they do a black person’s life … or, even beyond that, our Constitutional rights.”
He also participated in a counter-protest during a Confederate flag rally at Stone Mountain in Georgia last summer alongside other Black Lives Matter activists.
He reportedly stomped on a Confederate flag, tore it up, and burned it.
“To all my white friends observing my actions, and responding with love and support I thank you. But I feel you may be missing something essential. The POC who stood with me are the true heroes. As a white man I can choose to insert myself into danger when I feel the need to. That’s privilege. The black women who stood with me are face that same danger when they drive down the street. … I’m here to use my privilege to increase visibility for these type of issues,” he wrote on Facebook after the rally.
“That doesn’t make me a hero. It makes me a decent human being.”
Hero of the Day burns Confederate flag and waves it at 500 idiots at Stone Mountain. pic.twitter.com/iBzwN3ElcK
— Derf Backderf (@DerfBackderf) August 3, 2015
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
Footage from the protest was used in a hoax ISIS video uploaded to YouTube, although it’s unclear if it was created by a member of the terror group or Dimassimo, noted the Daily Mail.
Trump accused Dimassimo of being affiliated with the group.
Dimassimo didn’t address that allegation but he did tell a Twitter user who accused him of trying to kill Trump with a knife that he had no weapon on him.
“Go watch the video you can see both of my hands grab the stage try again,” he said. “There were metal detectors smh.”