Donald Trump and his supporters got quite a scare on Saturday night when Trump protester Austyn Crites attempted an anti-Trump stance at a Reno, Nevada, rally. When the story first broke, mainstream media outlets, such as CNN, ran headlines such as “Trump Rushed Off Stage By Secret Service.”
Some early reports even indicated that Donald Trump had been the brave survivor of a failed assassination attempt at the hands of a gun, with son Donald Trump Jr. even erroneously retweeting (then deleting) a false story claiming that his dad had bravely gone back on stage after an “assassination attempt” while “Hillary ran away from rain.”
Ultimately, as The Washington post reports, there was no Trump assassination attempt in Nevada. There wasn’t even a gun. What there was was a ton of hype and perhaps some overreaction to the peaceful resistance of Trump protester Austyn Crites. In fact, according to Crites’ version of what happened in Reno at the Trump rally, it was Austyn Crites who was roughed up and beaten by crazed Trump supporters who were furious that Crites would dare protest their candidate.
Donald Trump Jr retweets tweet saying tonight's incident at Trump's rally in Reno was an assassination attempt: pic.twitter.com/5bUIraIzJx— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) November 6, 2016
As The Guardian reports, Trump protester Austyn Crites claims that he was savagely turned on by Trump supporters at the Reno rally for doing nothing more than holding up an anti-Trump sign that read, “Republicans against Trump.” According to the Trump protester, things began to go south as soon as the Trump supporters at the rally realized what he was up to.
Lmao Reno— TrumpHasntTweeted (@HeHasntTweeted2) November 6, 2016
Donald Trump runs from a sign
Held by a Republican
Then the Trumpkins call it an assassination attempt
That just says it all
The Trump protester claims that while he tried to peacefully hold his “Republicans against Trump” sign at the Reno rally, he was attacked by violent Trump supporters. He said that he was punched, kicked and even choked by retaliating Trump supporters and was even in fear for his life during the altercation.
Then, in the midst of the brutal assault, Trump protester Austyn Crites claims that someone yelled “gun!” That’s when the Secret Service reportedly sprang into action, rushing former reality TV star Donald Trump from the stage and detaining the Trump protester, who by then was believed to be a “suspect.” The Secret Service account of the event seems to largely substantiate Trump protester Austyn Crites’ version of events.
USSS statement/Trump incident: "Immediately in front of the stage, an unidentified individual shouted "gun." ... no weapon was found." pic.twitter.com/V6dB9PQKGx— Jacob Rascon (@Jacobnbc) November 6, 2016
According to the 33-year-old Trump protester, he’s been a registered Republican for half a dozen years. However, Donald Trump’s deplorable treatment of women, Muslims and Hispanics prompted him to protest the Republican candidate. According to Crites, Donald Trump is “a textbook version of a dictator and a fascist.”
After the melee, when the non-violent Trump protester armed with nothing more than a sign was removed from the auditorium, Donald Trump made a grand re-entrance to the stage, attempting to use the situation to his political advantage, as evidenced by his next words.
“Nobody said it was going to be easy but we will never be stopped. We will never be stopped.”
Despite the fact that the “assassination attempt” was determined by the Secret Service to be nothing more than a non-violent anti-Trump protest that didn’t involve a weapon, Donald Trump Jr. also retweeted a post by Jack Posobiec calling for an end to “Democrat violence.” Trump Jr. later deleted the inaccurate tweet, but not before The Washington Post got a screenshot of the Trump Team social media gaffe.
After the altercation with the enraged Trump supporters, Trump protester Austyn Crites was reportedly found outside the Reno event facility looking “bruised and shocked-looking.” It was there that The Guardian reportedly interviewed the Trump protester. Crites allegedly told the publication that his back was hurting him and that he was shaken up, but luckily that appeared to be the extent of his injuries.
He says his “weapon” was not a gun, as shouted by a Trump supporter at the rally. Rather, Trump protester Austyn Crites was “armed” only with a simple and harmless anti-Trump sign, which he says he held silently above his head in the midst of a sea of hostile Trump supporters.
The Trump protester said that the crowd’s reaction began as booing, but things quickly escalated.
“And then all of a sudden people next to me are starting to get violent; they’re grabbing at my arm, trying to rip the sign out of my hand.”
Austyn Crites further claims that for a moment, “it looked like” Trump was pointing at him. After that, things got exponentially worse. According to the Trump protester, that was when Trump’s supporters attacked, jumping on him, kicking, hitting, choking and even “grabbing his testicles.”
When he was already defenseless on the ground, someone screamed that he had a gun, according to the Trump protester. The Secret Service quickly apprehended and handcuffed him, removing him from the Trump rally.
“As I was taken from the room, people are just looking at me like I’m a demon.”
According to Trump protester Crites, he was ultimately searched, background checked and released. Early Sunday morning, Austin Crites is still in shock about what he endured for protesting Donald Trump at his rally.
Austyn Crites’ version of events is similar to what many Trump protesters have reported enduring at Trump rallies, although none have previously been accused of attempting Trump’s assassination. According to Slate, which reported on the problem months ago, by late April, at least 20 Trump protesters had reported being violently assaulted by the Republican candidate’s at his various rally. That number has only increased as the 2016 campaign has moved closer to Election Day.
In contrast to how Trump protester Austyn Crites was handled in Reno, on Friday, President Obama rebuked Hillary Clinton’s supporters for their verbal mistreatment of a Trump supporter at a Clinton rally in North Carolina, reports CNN.
The difference is admittedly staggering.
According to Trump protester Austyn Crites, the beating he took at the Donald Trump rally wasn’t the fault of the people who meted it out. Rather, he blames Donald Trump.
“The people who attacked me – I’m not blaming them. I’m blaming Donald Trump’s hate rhetoric…The fact that I got beat up today, that’s just showing what he’s doing to his crowds. But I just want people to understand I’m going to be OK, but now what’s more important is if the country going to be OK? So do your part and vote.”
What do you think? Was the reaction of the Trump supporters at the Reno rally appropriate? Is it ever okay to use physical violence on a non-violent protester simply holding a sign? What about falsely claiming that an unarmed protester has a gun? What are your thoughts on the plight of Trump protester Austyn Crites?
[Featured Image by John Locher/AP Photo]