The White House issued a statement condemning violence after a man knocked down several video cameras and a cameraman in the press section during a campaign-style rally in El Paso, Texas, on Feb. 11.
“President Trump condemns all acts of violence against any individual or group of people—including members of the press,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Feb. 12. “We ask that anyone attending an event do so in a peaceful and respectful manner.”
During the rally, Trump stopped his speech to make sure reporters were unscathed after the man shoved members of the press and verbally abused the media before he was escorted out of the El Paso County Coliseum. The man reportedly ran down a flight of stairs and onto the press riser to get to cameras that were recording Trump’s speech. Some equipment was knocked over during the scuffle.
BBC’s Ron Skeans told BBC that he felt a “very hard shove” from behind. “I didn’t know what was going on.” He said the man nearly knocked over his camera twice before he was restrained by conservative talk radio host Ben Bergquam.
Bergquam, who also runs a website called Frontline America, told The Epoch Times that the man was yelling about “fake news” and seemed “off.”
“There was something that didn’t seem quite right. There was something off in his eyes,” he said. “As soon as I grabbed him, there was no fight.”
Although the man was wearing a red MAGA hat, Bergquam noted it was possible that he was “somebody on the left” posing as a Trump supporter, but there was no way to know. During the rally, there were at least five other protests.
Bergquam also lamented on the media’s coverage of the scuffle, BBC’s in particular.
“You can’t help but notice that they intentionally omitted the fact that another Trump supporter and fellow journalists were up there to restrain the guy,” he said, speaking of himself. “They proved it themselves just by their reporting on the situation.”
Bergquam was asked if he thought Trump’s comments against fake news created the situation. “No. I think the media’s lack of journalistic integrity created a situation where people don’t trust them anymore. And President Trump is just articulating what many others feel,” he said.
Amid the tussle, Trump paused his speech, and once the man was escorted away, asked if the reporters were okay, checking with a thumbs-up. “Are you alright? Everything OK? Please?” Trump said.
He received a thumbs-up in return and continued his speech.
The focal point of Trump’s speech was his push for a physical barrier along the U.S.–Mexico border. He said the number of illegal immigrants crossing into America is so great that the government has nowhere to hold them.
He blamed the laws for bringing aliens into the court system and creating a backlog, “Right now, we have almost 900,000 cases. How many judges do we have to hire?”
The rally was the seventh event Trump has held in Texas and his first in El Paso since announcing his candidacy. The stadium was filled to its 8,000-plus capacity, and about 69,000 people signed up online for the rally. The venue is less than 1,000 feet from the border wall in El Paso.
With reporting by Charlotte Cuthbertson.
This article has been updated to add the statement from the White House.