The Truth About Reno: Trump Incited Mob to Attack a Protester, Then Falsely Accused Him of “Assassination Attempt”
Right wing blogs are all screaming this morning about the “assassination attempt” at yesterday’s Trump rally in Reno. Jim Hoft, the Stupidest Man on the Internet, is leading the charge as usual with post after post at his illiterate blog calling the man involved, Austyn Crites, an “attacker,” a “perpetrator” and “an attempted assassin,” and bellowing in capital letters that he “exposed” Crites as a Hillary supporter.
Hoft and his deranged followers are all pushing an outright lie. There was no assassination attempt.
There was some shocking violence at this rally, this much is true; but Crites was the victim, not the perpetrator. The crowd turned on him after Donald Trump pointed him out, accused him of being paid by Hillary Clinton, and said, “Take him out.” Here’s video of Trump inciting the mob:
Here’s Trump mocking the protestor right before the crowd attacked the guy. But yeah, Trump’s the victim. As always. pic.twitter.com/NrCJm55hRz
“Ah, we have one of those guys from, from the Hillary Clinton campaign. How much are you being paid? $1500? All right, take him out.”
The truth is that the Secret Service responded to a mass beating of a protester, when someone screamed “gun” — even though there was no gun, just a sign. He didn’t rush the stage, and he did nothing to provoke this attack other than hold a protest sign that said “Republicans Against Trump.”
The Guardian interviewed Crites after he was attacked.
Crites, who said he was an inventor who works with high-altitude balloons, said the incident occurred after he walked toward the front of the stage to protest silently against Trump.
He confirmed witness descriptions of him moving through the crowd toward the front. However, he said he was not barging through but saying: “Can I please come through, can I please come through.”
When he was near the front of the crowd, he said he silently held aloft his sign. “I had a sign that said ‘Republicans against Trump.’ It is a sign that you can just print off online.”
Initially, there was the expected reaction of people around him booing, he said. “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,” he said.
He said he could not be sure but “it looked like” Trump was pointing at him, and may have been “instigating something”. Either way, the crowd piled on him, he said, kicking, punching, holding him on the ground and grabbing his testicles.
He said he was a wrestler in his youth and used his training to turn his head to the side to maintain an airway open as he was being choked by one man who had him in a headlock. “But there were people wrenching on my neck they could have strangled me to death,” he added.
Crites said when he was on the ground he heard someone yell “something about a gun” and he kept telling those on top of him that he had merely been holding a sign.
Crites was taken to the back of the auditorium (through a screaming mob of violent Trump supporters), searched, questioned briefly, then released.
For his part, Crites said he felt relieved when police arrived and placed him in handcuffs, but said officers had to fend off Trump supporters who continued to attack him. “As I was taken from the room, people are just looking at me like I’m a demon,” he said.
He said he was taken to the back of the auditorium, searched, subjected to a background check and then swiftly released.
Oh, and about Jim Hoft’s claim that he “exposed” Crites as a Hillary supporter? There’s nothing to “expose.” Crites isn’t trying to hide this.
Although he described himself as a Republican and fiscal conservative, Crites said he had canvassed “for a few hours” with the Clinton campaign in Nevada because he wanted to do all he could to prevent a Trump presidency
He said he was not fully supportive of Clinton but believed she was the only candidate who could stop Trump from reaching the White House.