Trump Amps It Up: Insulting Protesters, Putting Reporters In A 'Pen'

Nov 19, 2015
Originally published on November 20, 2015 6:09 pm

Donald Trump continued to ratchet up his fiery rhetoric at a campaign event in Massachusetts Wednesday evening, spouting off at his GOP presidential rivals and touting his plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

With the debate raging over how to handle Syrian refugees after last week's terrorist attacks in Paris, the billionaire has raised alarm bells that their migration could be a way for ISIS to infiltrate the U.S.

Before the rally, Trump repeated a claim that President Obama wants to bring 250,000 Syrian refugees into the country, which he has followed up by asking if Obama is "insane." The administration has a plan to bring in just 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year. Fewer than 2,000 refugees have entered the country from Syria since 2012, as the screening process takes 18 to 24 months on average.

Trump argued that most Syrian refugees were "tough-looking cookies" and not women and children — even though the State Department says only 2 percent of Syrian refugees are men of fighting age — and he said their entry "could be the great Trojan horse of all time."

In an interview with Yahoo News the next day, the real estate magnate said new threats from ISIS could require special surveillance of Muslims, including a possible database to monitor them.

He was interrupted sporadically by protesters who were in the crowd of 10,500, holding signs that read "Migrant Lives Matter" and "Immigrant Lives Matter," according to the Washington Post.

But once reporters there tried to document the protesters being hauled away, they were stopped by Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who yelled that the media had to stay in their "pen."

When CNN reporter Noah Gray tried to move to film the protesters, Lewandowski turned to spokeswoman Hope Hicks and said, "Hey: Tell Noah, get back in the pen or he's f****** blacklisted," according to the Post.

His campaign walked back a claim to reporters that they were being quarantined because of security concerns (Trump recently received Secret Service protection). Earlier this year, Democrat Hillary Clinton was criticized for using a rope to corral press trailing her in a parade.

Wednesday evening's tirades didn't seem to be as bizarre as a speech last week where he compared his chief rival, Ben Carson, to a child molester because he had written he had a "pathological temper" when he was younger. And, slipping in the polls in Iowa, Trump unloaded that voters would have to be "stupid [to] believe this crap" as Carson leapfrogged him in the state.

Here are some of Trump's other most dazzling insults from Wednesday:

On Florida Sen. Marco Rubio: "Oh, Rubio, he's the next Reagan. He's no Reagan — that I can tell you. ... I mean, my hair is better than his hair, that I can tell you."

On former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: "Doesn't have the strength or stamina to be president."

On protesters: "You know, it's amazing. I mentioned food stamps, and that guy who was seriously overweight went crazy," Trump said of one man who was dragged away, according to Boston.com. "You are the cancer that is killing democracy."

On Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was swapped in a prisoner release and is now being charged with desertion: Trump called Bergdahl "a dirty, rotten traitor" then motioned to a man who was shaping his hands like a gun, according to the Post.

"What do we do with Sgt. Bergdahl 50 years ago?" Trump asked. He then pointed his own hand like a gun, and added "That's right. Boom. Boom! ... Boom, he's gone. He's gone!"

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

As a businessman, TV star and now presidential candidate, Donald Trump has always known how to throw a rhetorical punch. In recent weeks, he's been dialing up the combative language at his noisy campaign rallies. Last night, it was Worcester, Mass. NPR's Don Gonyea reports.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Appropriately, this event was in a hockey arena. And with a crowd of 10,000 occasionally chanting U.S.A., it felt like a sporting event.

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: USA, USA, USA...

GONYEA: In an hour-long speech, Trump had a long list of targets. The big one, of course, is ISIS. This line, and vulgarity, gets his biggest cheers.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: And we got to knock the (censored) out of these people.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: We've got to do it. We've got to do it.

(APPLAUSE)

GONYEA: Then for emphasis, a pop-culture reference from Hollywood.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: And we can do it fast, and we can do it furious.

GONYEA: Some recent polls have shown Trump slipping behind Ben Carson into second place. But last night he said that trend is reversing. As for Carson...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: He's going down. He's going down.

GONYEA: And he mocked Carson's struggles when talking about foreign policy.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: You've got to know about foreign policy, you've got to know - got to know, got to study. Got to be able to get that stuff right.

GONYEA: Trump is not exactly winning over the foreign policy intelligentsia himself, but his blunt talk is, so far, plenty good enough for his supporters. Marco Rubio is increasingly seen as a major threat to Trump, but he dismissed him too.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: Rubio - he's a lightweight, he's a lightweight. Everyone's saying, oh, Rubio, he's the next Reagan. He's no Reagan. That I can tell you.

GONYEA: There were several interruptions as Trump spoke, including when he talked again about building a border wall, then later on as another protestor was removed by security.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: You know, it's amazing. I mentioned food stamps and that guy who's seriously overweight went crazy. He went crazy. Amazing.

GONYEA: Another popular target - the media, even as Trump basks in the glare of TV cameras.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: The press - look at all those guys back there with all those live cameras all the time.

(BOOING)

TRUMP: Boo, boo.

GONYEA: This arena has also hosted boxing matches. Last night, Trump cast himself as the only heavyweight in the room, his fans enjoying every jab, uppercut, even the low-blows.

Don Gonyea, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.