BBC Washington correspondent Gary O’Donoghue said that his colleague Ron Skeans was “fine” in spite of the “incredibly violent attack,” per The Guardian .
O’Donoghue tweeted footage from Skeans’ camera, which indicates that he and his equipment were knocked over for about 10 seconds, while filming Trump’s speech. Skeans was able to get back up and record a man in a MAGA hat being held back and yelling, “Fuck the media.”
As he was removed from the crowd, some chanted, “Let him go.”
O’Donoghue added that a Trump supporter climbed onto a media platform and shoved the camera into his colleague, before he kept pushing Skeans.
Skeans told the BBC that he was caught off guard by “very hard shoving,” adding, “I didn’t know what was going on.”
O’Donoghue told BBC, “It was an incredibly violent attack. Fortunately our cameraman is fine, he is made of stern stuff.”
A BBC spokeswoman said Skeans was “violently pushed and shoved by a member of the crowd” while covering the rally. “The man was removed by security and Ron is fine. The president could see the incident and checked with us that all was OK,” she said. “It is clearly unacceptable for any of our staff to be attacked for doing their job.”
O’Donoghue said provoking the crowd against the media is a “constant feature of these rallies.” He added, “I have been spat at before, they hurl abuse at American colleagues in particular.”
It’s well known that Trump and the media don’t get along. He has often touted factual reporting he doesn’t like as “fake news” and expressed that journalists are our adversaries.
During his speech, Trump also fabricated the number of people who attended the event. He told the crowd at the El Paso County Coliseum that 69,000 people had signed up to attend the rally. “The arena holds 8,000 and, thank you fire department, they got in about 10 [thousand],” he said. “But if you really want to see something, go outside. Tens of thousands of people are watching screens outside.”
However, according to The Guardian, an El Paso fire department spokesman said the president’s alleged figure was incorrect and that only 6,5000 people were allowed inside, which is the building’s capacity.
The intention of the rally in El Paso was to campaign for the border wall, but on the same night, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) staged a counter-protest, visibly getting under Trump’s skin.
Trump referred to O’Rourke’s protest during his speech, saying, “A young man who’s got very little going for himself, except he’s got a great first name. … He challenged us. So we have, let's say, 35,000 people tonight. And he has 200 people, 300 people. Not too good.”
He continued, “In fact, what I’d do, what I would say is that may be the end of his presidential bid.”
Later, Trump mentioned O’Rourke again: “Well, how about Beto? Beto was defeated too, right? But he suffered a great defeat. Watch what the news does tomorrow, though, they won’t mention the disparity [in crowd size], they won’t mention the disparity tomorrow. They’ll say “Beto O’Rourke” – that’s his last name, right, O’Rourke? – “Beto O’Rourke had a wonderful rally, although about 15 people…”
However, according to reports by NBC News, around 7,000 to 8,000 attended O’Rourke’s demonstration, while, as we mentioned above, 6,500 attended Trump’s rally, and several thousands more Trump advocates supported from outside the arena. Though Trump’s Monday night campaign drew thousands, so too did O’Rourke’s counter-protest.