Donald Trump’s presidential campaign made headlines on a number of fronts over the past few days, including clashes with news organizations, as we reported separately.
According to a report in the New York Daily News, a Black Lives Matter protester was punched and kicked at a Trump rally after he disrupted the proceedings in Birmingham, Ala. The protester was reportedly shoved to the ground by the audience.
The article reports: “In a video of the incident, several people can be seen tackling the man and at least one man punches him and a woman kicks him while he is on the ground, CNN reported.”
Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks is quoted by CNN saying, “The campaign does not condone this behavior.”
Trump reportedly responded to the disruption by the protester saying: “Get him the hell out of here — Throw him out.”
A witness reportedly said the protester was being aggressive toward members of the audience.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports that Trump indicated Sunday that he would consider running as an independent if his bid for the GOP nomination fails.
“The real-estate tycoon made his comments on ABC when asked about a Wall Street Journal article published online Friday that reported an effort by Republican establishment figures to unite to knock Mr. Trump out of the race,” WSJ reports.
The Journal reported that the GOP group plans a “guerrilla campaign,” with backing from secret donors, to “defeat and destroy” the Trump candidacy.
Trump has said in the past that he would not run as an independent. But when he was asked whether he would reconsider that stance, he reportedly said: “Well, we’ll see what happens. It will be very interesting. But I’m leading every poll by a lot. It’s not even a little bit anymore, it’s a lot.”
In another development, Trump has increasingly come under fire over his claims that “thousands and thousands of people were cheering” in Jersey City, N.J., as the World Trade Center fell on Sept. 11, 2001.
ABC News quotes Trump telling George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week”: “There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down. I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as that building came down — as those buildings came down — and that tells you something. It was well covered at the time.”
Among those refuting Trump’s claim was Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who is quoted by ABC News saying Trump “has memory issues or willfully distorts the truth, either of which should be concerning for the Republican Party.”
Fulop added: “Trump is plain wrong, and he is shamefully politicizing an emotionally charged issue. No one in Jersey City cheered on September 11th. We were actually among the first to provide responders to help in lower Manhattan. Trump needs to understand that Jersey City will not be part of his hate campaign.”