Trump supporter attacks BBC cameraman at El Paso rally
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Trump supporter attacks BBC cameraman at El Paso rally

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A supporter of US President Donald Trump has attacked a BBC cameraman at a campaign rally in El Paso, Texas.

Sporting a Make America Great Again cap, the man shoved and swore at the BBC’s Ron Skeans and other news crews before being pulled away.

Mr Skeans said the “very hard shove” came from his blindside. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

Mr Trump saw the attack and confirmed Mr Skeans was well with a thumbs up after it happened.

The president has had a fractious relationship with the media from the very start of his time in office.

He has claimed journalists are “the enemy of the people” and slammed the “fake news” for reports he deems unfavourable.

Mr Skeans said the man almost knocked him and his camera over twice before he was wrestled away by a blogger.

President Trump checked they were well with a thumbs up, and continued his speech after Mr Skeans returned the gesture.

BBC Washington producer Eleanor Montague and Washington correspondent Gary O’Donoghue were sitting in front of the camera.

Ms Montague said the protester had attacked other news crews but Mr Skeans “got the brunt of it”.

A campaign official for Mr Trump afterwards suggested the attacker was drunk.

To all those who asked after the cameraman – Ron is fine . Thanks for asking # pic.twitter.com/JB7Tq21DX6— Eleanor Montague (@EleanorMontague)

End of Twitter post by @EleanorMontague

The president went to El Paso, on the US border with Mexico, to campaign for a border wall, a divisive issue which caused the longest government shutdown in US history.

Ms Montague said the president had spoken of “fake news” and how the media misrepresented him in the run up to the assault.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr O’Donoghue said it was “an incredibly violent attack”.

“This is a constant feature of these rallies – a goading of the crowds against the media,” Mr O’Donoghue said, who added that he had been “spat at before”.

Last August UN experts warned Mr Trump’s attacks “increase the risk of journalists being targeted with violence”, calling his rhetoric “strategic”.

New York Times publisher AG Sulzberger has urged the president to stop his media assaults.

CNN meanwhile filmed supporters of Mr Trump yelling abuse and swearing at reporters covering a rally in Florida last year.

Just a sample of the sad scene we faced at the Trump rally in Tampa. I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt. We should not treat our fellow Americans this way. The press is not the enemy. pic.twitter.com/IhSRw5Ui3R— Jim Acosta (@Acosta)

End of Twitter post by @Acosta

Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci condemned Trump’s supporters at the Florida rally on Twitter, saying the behaviour was “not who we are”.

Mr Trump saw the attack and confirmed the cameraman was well with a thumbs up after it happened.

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