Trump Campaign Boots New York Times Reporter Out Of Rally; Noted Crowd Mostly Maskless

By Dominic Patten, Ted Johnson


(UPDATED, with comment from Trump campaign source & NYT statement) A New York Times reporter said she was kicked out of Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Michigan, after posting on social media about the crowds and the lack of masks among the thousands of attendees.

Kathy Gray wrote on social media that the Trump campaign “tracked me down from the picks I tweeted and escorted me out.”

According to a source with the Trump campaign, Gray had not applied for credentials through the normal process, was in the general audience acting as a reporter. Their rule is that reporters must stay in the designated press area shortly before the president’s arrival and for the duration of his stay. The reporter  was told she could stay in the general admission area, but not while reporting, and she declined. The reporter was then asked to leave the event, the source said.

“We’re disappointed that the Trump campaign refused to credential our freelancer and then, when she registered and attended as a member of the public, they ejected her from the event,” said the Times’ VP, Communications Danielle Rhoades Ha, of Gray, a well known former political reporter for the Detroit Free Press. “Our goal is to cover these campaign events and talk to voters about the candidates, and that’s what Kathy was trying to do.”

Contrary to what a Trump campaign source alleges, Gray was not offered the opportunity to remain at the rally, we are now hearing.

Trump has long railed against the “fake news’ media as the “enemy of the people,” but this is not the first time journalist have been booted out of a Trump event or the Trump White House. Back in 2016, the Trump campaign banned reporters from The Washington Post, Politico, BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post at various points from campaign events and press conferences.

Since he became president, Trump’s team have tried to revoke or suspend the credentials of CNN’s Jim Acosta and Playboy‘s Brian Karem, but federal judges have ordered that their access be restored.

At the event, Trump called Biden “the worst presidential candidate in the history of presidential politics.” “Can you imagine if I lost to him?” Trump said. “Don’t do that to me, Michigan.”

With thousands in attendance, the slightly scaled down traditional Trump event comes a day after Biden held his own masked and social distanced event in the Great Lakes State. Holding a slight but steady lead in the polls statewide and nationally, the former vice president spoke in Warren, Michigan on Wednesday at an event with union officials and members, and conducted a backyard sit down with labor and community leaders.

At the Trump event in Freeland, other journalists also pointed to the lack of masks and social distancing, including Acosta, who was present. The New York Times’ photographer, Doug Mills, also tweeted out a photo from the event.

Trump addressed the story that has dominated headlines for the past day — Bob Woodward’s new book. In it, Trump admits that he downplayed the threat of the coronavirus because he didn’t want to start a panic. On Feb. 7, Trump told Woodward that the virus was deadly and dangerous — a far different message than he conveyed in public through the month. The coronavirus has resulted in 192,000 deaths in the United States and 6.4 million cases, according to the latest data.

Trump called Woodward a “whack job,” and compared his downplaying of the virus to what the British government told citizens during World War II, to “keep calm and carry on.”

But the British also had shelter plans in place for German air raids. As historian Jon Meacham pointed out, Churchill said, “The British people can face any misfortune with fortitude and bouyancy as long as they are convinced that those in charge of their affairs are not deceiving them, or are not dwelling in a fool’s paradise.”

Others remarked — again — on the choice of music for a Trump event.


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