Following a scuffle at a Donald Trump rally Saturday night in Reno, Nevada, several of the Republican candidate’s supporters, as well as some of his staff took to social media to proclaim that someone had tried to assassinate him. Here’s what really happened.
At one point during the rally, Austyn Crites, a registered Republican who is supporting Hillary Clinton, made his way towards the front of the crowd. He then silently held up a sign that read, “Republicans against Trump.” A scuffle broke out as Trump supporters began pummeling him and attempted to rip the sign away. During the melee, someone yelled, “gun!” This prompted Trump’s Secret Service protective squadron to immediately rush the candidate off-stage.
The Secret Service quickly handcuffed Crites and led him away. But, after searching him, they found no weapon, and he was released after brief questioning. The Secret Service also noted that those attending the rallies of major presidential candidates must go through metal detectors.
The agents brought Trump back on stage and the rally continued. Thanking the Secret Service, Trump said, “Nobody said it was going to be easy for us. But we will never be stopped.”
Yet, several of his supporters went further, tweeting that their candidate had just survived an attempt to kill him.
That night, Dan Scavino, the candidate’s social media aide and Trump’s son, Donald, Jr, retweeted this from a Trump supporter: “Hillary ran away from rain today. Trump back on stage minutes after assassination attempt.”
It is true the Hillary Clinton had cut short a rally in Florida earlier that day because of a downpour, though she completed her remarks in the rain.
It is not true, however, that there was any kind of attempt to kill Donald Trump.
Trump’s son and Scavino might be excused for stating that there had been an attempt on the candidate’s life before all the facts were out. But the facts did come out… and quickly.
And yet, the next day the Trump campaign declined to correct the record. Asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” about retracting the tweet, Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, instead attacked the network’s campaign coverage.
“Is CNN going to retract all the storylines, all the headlines, all the breathless predictions of the last two weeks that have turned out not to be true? The race is over. The path is closed. It’s going to be a blowout.’ You guys retract that and I’ll give a call to Scavino about the retweet.”