Thomas DiMassimo, the protester who rushed the stage at Donald Trump during a campaign speech Saturday, has been charged with a federal crime by a U.S. Attorney for the southern district of Ohio on Monday. As the Inquisitr reported earlier, Donald Trump was onstage at a rally in Ohio on Saturday when an anti-Trump protester rushed the stage and caused a tense few moments as Secret Service surrounded Donald Trump and immediately seized on the protester as he pushed through the security barricade.
DiMassimo was taken into custody after being wrestled to the ground by U.S. Secret Service agents Saturday, and over the weekend the U.S. Attorney’s Office decided to take up the case and charge the protester with one count of “knowingly entering restricted grounds.” On the local level he was charged with “disorderly conduct” and “inducing panic” after rushing onstage during the Trump event.
“If there are protesters, if there are people that are disrupting the event, that is not our primary responsibility, we are there to protect,” said Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy, speaking to ABC News.
Some commentators have questioned the Secret Service’s role in Trump’s campaign security, particularly as protesters are more and more frequently removed from Trump events by police or Secret Service agents. But in this case at least, the video tells the story: DiMassimo rushed the stage and caused a panic among the crowd, and Secret Service agents did their job – protect the candidate.
“If someone, for example, comes into the buffer zone or secure zone, we’re gonna respond to that as we saw in Dayton, Ohio just this past weekend,” said Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy, praising his agents’ response to the threat.
College student who rushed the stage at Donald Trump rally facing federal charge | https://t.co/5Zrz8LMptp— Tiffany Latta (@TiffanyLATTASNS) March 15, 2016
DiMassimo is charged with one federal misdemeanor and two local misdemeanors. The federal charge can carry a penalty of up to one year in prison. In his protest against Donald Trump, he attempted to rush the stage; what he had planned to do once he got on stage is unknown – beyond claiming that he hoped to “take away the podium.” What is known, however, is that Trump has held up the event as further evidence that his supporters aren’t the problem, it’s the protesters – or disrupters as he calls them.
“I was thinking that I could get up on stage and take his podium away from him and take his mic away from him and send a message to all people out in the country who wouldn’t consider themselves racist, who wouldn’t consider themselves approving of what type of violence Donald Trump is allowing at his rallies, and send them a message that we can be strong, that we can find our strength and we can stand up against Donald Trump and against this new wave he’s ushering in of truly just violent white supremacist ideas,” said Thomas DiMassimo, speaking with CNN.
DiMassimo’s lengthy speech on CNN doesn’t clarify just how he hoped to achieve his goals, and it doesn’t specify any specific action he hoped to take when rushing the stage, but luckily for Donald Trump, he didn’t get the chance. The Secret Service rushed to cover Trump, and to seize the protester, who could very well have been armed and a threat to the safety of Trump.
Visibly startled by the event, Donald Trump continued the rally after DiMassimo was taken away by police.
“Donald Trump is a bully, and he is nothing more than that. He is somebody who is just saying a lot of bold things, he’s making bold claims. But I can see right through that, and I can see he’s truly just a coward,” said DiMassimo, unrepentant, as he spoke to CNN on Sunday.
[Photo by AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato]