A Donald Trump supporter got into a scuffle with a journalist in Newtown, Pennsylvania, immediately after a rally where the GOP presidential nominee had denounced the media as “dishonest.”
Namrata Brar, a New York-based correspondent for India’s NDTV, was trying to capture an exchange between Trump backers and anti-Trump protesters outside the athletic center where the rally had just taken place.
But a Trump supporter in a black T-shirt did not appreciate having a microphone nearby. Brar’s camera operator caught the belligerent response to her overtures on tape.
“I don’t want to talk to the media. They’re liars. No thank you,” said the man in the black shirt.
“We’re not talking. We haven’t even asked you anything,” Brar insisted.
“I decline with regret,” the man replied, his tone growing angrier.
Then he swatted at Brar’s microphone with a rolled-up Trump placard.
“I will knock that out of your hand,” he said, pushing the microphone with increasing force. “I decline with regret. Who even knows you?”
Seeing the clash, local police officers dispersed the group, including the man who was acting aggressively.
Even when I have been the only brown person in the crowd of only white people, I haven’t been uncomfortable. Namrata Brar, NDTV
The incident nonetheless reflects the potential dangers of Trump’s anti-journalist rhetoric.
Trump has escalated his denunciations of the media as his electoral chances have faded ― and his supporters have responded with growing aggression. Earlier this month, CNN’s Jim Acosta found a sign with a swastika on the media table at a Trump campaign speech.
At the Newtown rally preceding the scuffle, Trump issued one of his trademark attacks on the news media, as he warned attendees about an ominous crime wave supposedly sweeping American cities.
“Murder is up more than at any time over 45 years,” Trump said. “You don’t hear that from these dishonest people back there, meaning the media,” he went on. “Look at ‘em! Look at ‘em!”
The crowd turned toward the press pen and booed for several seconds, then broke into a chant of “CNN sucks.”
“We are living in a rigged system,” Trump said. “And believe me, they’re a big part of the rigging ― those people.”
Trump is correct that the national murder rate rose in 2015 by 11 percent nationwide ― a higher percentage growth than has existed “in nearly half a century,” according to the New York Times. But homicide rates overall remain well below what they were in the 1990s.
The irony, of course, is that the supposedly liberal Times covered precisely the facts that Trump accused the media of suppressing.
Brar told The Huffington Post that her altercation with the Trump supporter was “actually unsettling.”
“I wasn’t expecting it because through the day I was covering the event,” Brar recalled. “If people didn’t want to give me a bite on camera, they politely declined, but nothing like that.”
“Even when I have been the only brown person in the crowd of only white people, I haven’t been uncomfortable,” she said.
Brar, who covered the Republican National Convention in July and Trump rallies in Iowa and New Hampshire during the primary campaign, has a lot of appreciation for the many factors motivating Trump’s supporter base.
“There is a huge amount of complexity in why this faction feels disenfranchised and why they feel they are being shunned by Washington,” she said, citing the loss of many jobs to globalization and immigration in some parts of the country.
“They desperately want an outsider in place,” she said. “A lot of people even said, they do not like what he says, but he is an outsider, so you have to give him a shot.”
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Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.