The Clinton campaign has been strangely remiss in not publicizing the Trump campaign’s aggressive screening of journalists at Trump’s events—especially its denial of press credentials to several news media organizations, including the Washington Post and Politico.
But this report by Paul Farhi, the Washington Post’s media reporter, this morning, titled “Post reporter barred, patted down by police, at rally for Trump running mate,” but published in the Post’s Style section for whatever reason, is out of early 1930s Europe:
Donald Trump’s campaign has denied press credentials to a number of disfavored media organizations, including The Washington Post, but on Wednesday, the campaign of his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, went even further.
At Pence’s first public event since he was introduced as the Republican vice-presidential candidate two weeks ago, a Post reporter was barred from entering the venue after security staffers summoned local police to pat him down in a search for his cellphone.
Pence’s campaign expressed embarrassment and regret about the episode, which an official blamed on overzealous campaign volunteers.
Post reporter Jose A. DelReal sought to cover Pence’s rally at theWaukesha County Exposition Center outside Milwaukee, but he was turned down for a credential beforehand by volunteers at a press check-in table.
DelReal then tried to enter via the general-admission line, as Post reporters have done without incident since Trump last month banned the newspaper from his events. He was stopped there by a private security official who told him he couldn’t enter the building with his laptop and cellphone. When DelReal asked whether others attending the rally could enter with their cellphones, he said the unidentified official replied, “Not if they work for The Washington Post.”
Donald Trump’s running mate has been in public office since 2000, mostly in Congress, and is a favorite among social conservatives.
After placing his computer and phone in his car, DelReal returned to the line and was detained again by security personnel, who summoned two county sheriff’s deputies. The officers patted down DelReal’s legs and torso, seeking his phone, the reporter said.
When the officers — whom DelReal identified as Deputy John Lappley and Capt. Michelle Larsuel — verified that he wasn’t carrying a phone, the reporter asked to be admitted. The security person declined. “He said, ‘I don’t want you here. You have to go,’ ” DelReal said.
The security person wouldn’t give his name when DelReal asked him to identify himself. He also denied DelReal’s request to speak to a campaign press representative as he escorted the journalist out.
Officials of the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department were unavailable for comment Wednesday night.
Trump has banned nearly a dozen news organizations whose coverage has displeased him, but reporters have generally been able to cover his events by going through general admission lines.
The incident involving DelReal marks another in a series of run-ins between the news media and the campaign.
In June, Politico reporter Ben Schreckinger was ejected from a Trump event in San Jose by a campaign staffer and a private security guard after he tried to cover the rally without the campaign’s permission. In February, a photojournalist from Time magazine, Christopher Morris,was roughed up by a Secret Service agent as journalists rushed to cover a protest at one of his rallies. And Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, yanked and bruised the arm of a reporter for Breitbart News, Michelle Fields, when she tried to question Trump after a speech in March.
DelReal’s experience on Wednesday elicited a rebuke from Post Executive Editor Martin Baron.
“First, press credentials for The Washington Post were revoked by Donald Trump,” he said. “Now, law enforcement officers, in collusion with private security officials, subjected a reporter to bullying treatment that no ordinary citizen has to endure. All of this took place in a public facility no less. The harassment of an independent press isn’t coming to an end. It’s getting worse.”
Officials from the Pence campaign initially said they were unaware of the Waukesha incident when asked for comment Wednesday night. But after a cursory investigation, one official, who declined to speak on the record, said that no members of the campaign’s staff were involved. He said volunteers went too far.
“It sounds like they misinterpreted what they were supposed to be doing,” the official said. “This is not our policy.”
In a statement, Pence press secretary Marc Lotter said, “Our events are open to everyone, and we are looking into the alleged incident.”
“It sounds like they misinterpreted what they were supposed to be doing,” the official said? “This is not our policy?”
Some of them were doing what they were supposed to be doing—the volunteers at the press check-in table, for example. Others surely knew that they were doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing, because they are public law enforcement officials, yet they did it anyway.
And then there is that middle category—the private security people—whose interpretation of what they were supposed to be doing wasn’t mere happenstance.
I don’t know who other than Clinton and her daughter will be speaking tonight in the primetime hours. But I sure hope this night, with so many millions of people watching, will tell the public about this. Even maybe someone who isn’t scheduled to speak tonight, and who could just take the stage to do that and only that.
My preference would be Bernie Sanders. Or Elizabeth Warren. But really, almost anyone could do it effectively. It would take only about five minutes—and could be profoundly informative to so many people who don’t know about this.
Not to put too fine a point on this, but Bernie would be particularly effective, given his father’s family’s losses in the Holocaust. And Elizabeth Warren would be because she could note, with some authority notwithstanding that although a former Harvard law professor she did not teach constitutional law, that what we undoubtedly are looking at if Trump is elected is a series of profound constitutional crises.
This is stunningly important stuff, folks.
UPDATE: Can’t decide whether this is equally important, but it isn’t stunning. In the least.
Then again, New Jersey isn’t all that far from Virginia. And they both have to worry about hurricanes during the hurricane season!
Okay, I won’t make you click that link. Trump said on Twitter last night that Tim Kaine was a lousy governor of New Jersey. I presume Trump’s complaint is that Kaine didn’t show up much for work there.
Added 7/28 at 11:24 a.m.