ROCK HILL, S.C. — A Muslim woman, who was standing in silent protest at a Trump rally while she wore a bright blue shirt and a white hijab, seem to be asked by police to leave, and then escorted out.
CNN and others have reported this. I was in the arena when this happened and saw some of it. I still don't understand why she was removed, but I also think the reports I've seen on this leave out important context.
Here are the details I saw:
Trump was talking about how his knowledge of lobbyists and crony capitalism will help make him a great president. As an analogy and an aside (he makes many rambling, tenuously connected asides) he started speaking about how "I know the game," and "Obama doesn't understand the game."
By this point, Rose Hamid and her companion Marty Rosenbluth (who is Jewish) were already standing, as you can see when Trump says "I know the game" in this video. At that point he was talking about corporate lobbyists.
"He doesn't know radical Islamic terrorism. He doesn't know. He refuses to say the name. If you don't say the name, you're never going to solve the problem."
At that point, behind Trump's left shoulder, a white male protestor stood up and started shouting, and the crowd responded by chanting "Trump! Trump! Trump!" as organizers at all these rallies implore them to. You can see this begin to develop here.
The man resisted the cops, and was dragged out by a handful of police pretty forcefully. In the corridor of the arena, the police pressed his head to the wall, cuffed him, and then two of them walked him out.
The whole thing took a while because the man's resistance. At about 1:03:27, you see Trump and the people behind him looking up and to the left, and cheering louder. That's when the man was being hauled out.
I followed him and the police to watch what happened.
Keep watching, and about 20 seconds later, after Trump asks "was there somebody up there," you'll see attention turn to the right. That is when Rose Hamid was being escorted out. I was in the hallway when the police came up with her and Rosenbluth — it obviously was a far more peaceful removal, as you can see from this picture. (Though near the exit, there was a brief heated exchange between one officer and Rosenbluth.)
When I watched Jeff Zeleny discuss this on CNN last night, saying "suddenly a police officer escorted her out," he mostly leaves out the context of the violent protest. That seems a pretty bad misrepresentation to me.
From everything I know, there was no reason to escort Hamid or her companion out of the arena. But I think a full report would make clear that the police's decision to do so came seconds after a violent protestor was removed.
UPDATE: 11:12 AM Now read how the Washington Post's Jenna Johnson writes it up:
Johnson writes that Hamid stood up, and "Trump kept speaking, but soon the crowd erupted, holding up their campaign signs and chanting 'Trump! Trump! Trump!' That was the formal signal for security to remove her from the rally."
This strikes me as total speculation and utterly false, with Johnson painting the Trump crowd in the worst possible light.
Johnson also writes that Hamid was "escorted out by security officers and campaign representatives." I watched her escorted out of the arena. I saw nobody by security officers involved, and the picture above supports that. The video of her removal that I have seen also shows only one security guard escorting her from her seat. (A different officer escorted her down the hall to the exit door.)
Another note: CNN's Don Lemon in this video asks Hamid (with the framing of some people might wonder), "Why would you even go and put yourself in that position, Rose, to be around those people?"
I spent the entire evening speaking with Trump supporters, all of whom were friendly. Lemon's question was — by a mile — the most fearful bigoted thing I heard all night, and Hamid responded to it with intelligence and grace.
Timothy P. Carney, The Washington Examiner's senior political columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears Tuesday and Thursday nights on washingtonexaminer.com.