BBC cameraman assaulted in 'violent attack' at Donald Trump rally

BBC cameraman assaulted in 'violent attack' at Donald Trump rally

A BBC cameraman has been "violently attacked" at a Donald Trump rally by a MAGA hat-wearing supporter of the US President.

Ron Skeans was filming a rally in El Paso, Texas on Monday night when a man got onto the reporters' platform screaming "f*** the media" and shoved the camera into his colleague.

The man then proceeded to push Mr Skeans before being wrestled away by a man in a black shirt who was also wearing a red Make America Great Again cap.

President Trump checked that the British journalists were okay with a thumbs up, and continued his speech after Mr Skeans returned the gesture.

The BBC's Washington correspondent Gary O’Donoghue, who is blind, tweeted a clip of the assault and said such behaviour was a "constant feature" of Trump rallies.

"It was an incredibly violent attack. Fortunately our cameraman is fine, he is made of stern stuff," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"This is a constant feature of these rallies – a goading of the crowds against the media.

"I have been spat at before, they hurl abuse at American colleagues in particular."

Mr O’Donoghue added that he thinks President Trump’s 2020 election campaign will be as "hostile and ill-tempered and divisive as the one we saw last time".

President Trump has repeatedly claimed journalists are "the enemy of the people" and reporters of "fake news" since taking office in 2016.

Last year, UN experts warned that Mr Trump's "strategic" rhetoric against the media "increases the risk of journalists being targeted with violence".

During Monday night's rally in El Paso, the President encouraged support for his proposed border wall with Mexico to protect the US against a "tremendous onslaught" of migrant caravans, violent criminals and drugs.

The BBC's Washington editor Eleanor Montague the crowd had been "whipped up into a frenzy" before Mr Skeans was assaulted.

She tweeted: "Just attended my first Donald Trump rally where my colleague BBC cameraman Rob Skeans was attacked by a Trump supporter.

"The crowd had been whipped up into a frenzy against the media by Trump and other speakers all night".

She later added: “To all those who asked after the cameraman - Ron is fine.”

A campaign official for Mr Trump later suggested the attacker was drunk, according to BBC News.