- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The White House urged “peaceful” behavior at campaign rallies Tuesday after a man attacked journalists at a Trump event in El Paso, Texas.

“President Trump condemns all acts of violence against any individual or group of people — including members of the press,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “We ask that anyone attending an event do so in a peaceful and respectful manner.”

The statement came after a prominent Democratic senator and the White House Correspondents Association urged Mr. Trump to rein in his supporters’ attacks on the media.

“He should call off his supporters who are doing those kinds of things,” said Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown 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.”

Olivier Knox, president of the WHCA, said the journalists’ group “condemns the physical attack on our colleague.”

“We are relieved that, this time, no one was seriously hurt,” Mr. Knox said in a statement. “The president of the United States should make absolutely clear to his supporters that violence against reporters is unacceptable.”

Mr. Skeans said the president saw the attack, and confirmed that the cameraman was OK 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, a potential candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, called on Mr. Trump “to stop the encouraging of violence at these rallies.” He 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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