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Facing pressure from a media industry that want President Donald Trump’s rhetorical attacks on journalists to end, the White House on Tuesday issued a statement clarifying that it does not support violence against the press after a cameraman from the BBC was “violently pushed and shoved” at a rally on Monday night.
“President Trump condemns all acts of violence against any individual or group of people — including members of the press,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “We ask that anyone attending an event do so in a peaceful and respectful manner.”
The cameraman, Ron Skeans, was pushed to the ground while covering Trump’s animated rally in El Paso, Texas, an incident that even prompted the president to pause his speech and see what happened. “It is clearly unacceptable for any of our staff to be attacked doing their job,” the British broadcaster said Tuesday.
Paul Danahar, the BBC’s North America editor, wrote to Sanders “urging her and her colleagues to review the security that they have in place for the media at the president’s rallies.” According to Danahar, the media area at the rally was “unsupervised” and the attacker was able to enter the area without being confronted by a police or security official.
The White House Correspondents’ Association also released a statement Tuesday condemning the attack. “We are relieved that, this time, no one was seriously hurt,” the organization said. “The president of the United States should make absolutely clear to his supporters that violence against reporters is unacceptable.”
By Trump’s standards, Monday night’s rally was relatively light on press-bashing, though the president said that “the media refuses to acknowledge what we’ve done and how well we’re doing.” He added, “I used to get great press until I decided to run for office.”
The crowd booed the assembled media on several occasions during the lengthy speech.
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