Sherrod Brown urges Trump to stop supporters from attacking journalists

February 12, 2019

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, a possible presidential contender in 2020, on Tuesday urged President Trump to rein in his supporters’ attacks on the media after a man shoved a TV cameraman at a campaign rally in El Paso, Texas.

“He should call off his supporters who are doing those kind of things,” Mr. Brown said at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. “Call them out and ask them to stop. We all are concerned there will be something worse happening at some time in the future.”

A man wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat shoved a BBC cameraman on the media platform Monday night at a Trump border rally in El Paso, Texas. The cameraman, Ron Skeans, said the “very hard shove” came from his blindside.

“I didn’t know what was going on,” Mr. Skeans told his network. He said the man almost knocked him over twice before the assailant was wrestled away by another member of the media.

BBC producer Eleanor Montague, who was also on the platform, said the man had attacked other journalists but Mr. Skeans “got the brunt of it.”

Mr. Skeans said the president saw the attack, and confirmed that the cameraman was okay with a thumbs-up gesture. The journalist returned the thumbs-up signal to Mr. Trump, who continued with his speech.

Ms. Montague said the president had been criticizing the media before the incident occurred.

Mr. Trump told his audience that the media wouldn’t accurately report the difference in crowd sizes between his rally and a rival event being held the same night in El Paso by former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a possible 2020 presidential candidate.

“They won’t mention the disparity tomorrow,” Mr. Trump said of the media. “When the media starts becoming honest, and maybe they will, because we’ve done something that’s never been done before. We have suffered a totally dishonest media and we’ve won, and it’s driving them crazy. It’s driving them crazy.”

Mr. Brown called on Mr. Trump “to stop the encouraging of violence at these rallies.” Mr. Brown added that physical attacks on the media by Trump supporters have “become too par for the course.”

The senator is married to Connie Schultz, a columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“I talk about this at home a lot with my wife about what’s happening in this country,” he said. “It’s important that the president at some point, sooner rather than later, goes on television not just tweets but goes on television and says that reporters and journalists are not enemies of the people.”

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