BREAKING: Donald Trump’s “assassination attempt” was really a non-violent protester

BREAKING: Donald Trump’s “assassination attempt” was really a non-violent protester


A lifelong Republican held up the sign “Republicans against Trump” at Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Reno — then things escalated.

Trump was rushed off the campaign stage mid-speech by Secret Service Saturday, after an unnamed rally goer yelled “gun” regarding a protester trying to hold up a sign against Trump. Secret Service said they “immediately apprehended the subject” — later identified as Austyn Crites — who had no weapon.

“All of a sudden, because they couldn’t grab the sign, or whatever happened, bam, I get tackled by all these people,” Crites told KRNV. “And somebody yells something about a gun, and so that’s when things really got out of hand.” He was glad Secret Service jumped in, however — otherwise he felt the crowd would have beaten him to death, he said.

Trump resumed the speech, saying “nobody said it was gonna be easy for us, but we will never be stopped,” and thanking law enforcement. Later in a statement Trump said, “Nothing will stop us – we will make America great again!”

The crowd was ripe with furor, however, according to reports on the ground, and many rally goers falsely reported the event as an “assassination attempt” — a baseless claim that continues to permeate through Trump’s surrogates.

Trump’s top aides baselessly pushed the idea that it was an assassination attempt

Immediately after the incident, Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr. and the campaign’s social media aide Dan Scavino took to Twitter to push the idea that the protester was attempting to kill Trump, retweeting misleading headlines and reports.


Trump Jr. also tried to relate the incident to a Project Veritas video, which the Trump campaign has used to claim that President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were paying people to cause violence at Trump rallies.

Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway reiterated claims that the protester was a “Democratic plant or operative,” on CNN Sunday, and said she “excuses” Trump Jr. for sharing headlines claiming there was a gun. It’s “rattling” to watch the incident live, Conway said.

Trump rallies have a history of violence

The dramatic interval to what would otherwise a normal campaign event is certainly not the first time there has been commotion at a Trump rally. Nor is it the first time Secret Service has had to rush on to stage to surround Trump. During the primaries, protesters tried to rush the stage in Cleveland, and throughout the campaign there have been numerous instances of violence both against protesters and Trump supporters at rallies.

When it comes to his own supporters physically defending his name against protesters Trump, himself often “legitimizes — even embraces — acts of violence that have already occurred, connecting them to the good, “beautiful” feelings supporters have toward their country and his campaign,” my colleague Dara Lind writes.

And, as Lind notes, it is that kind of rhetoric that escalates what was seemingly a peaceful protest, from someone in Trump’s own political party, into a perceived assassination attempt.


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