Trump has for years gleefully derided the protestors at his rallies

By Adam Carlson
August 16, 2019 10:37 AM
President Donald Trump

A supporter of President Donald Trump said he was unfazed by being inadvertently put in the spotlight at a Trump rally on Thursday night, when the president mistook him for a protestor and mocked his weight.

“I think he thought I was part of it, but I wasn’t. I was the good part of it,” Frank Dawson, a Navy veteran identified as the target of Trump’s jabs, told Fox News afterward.

The confusion resulted from a ruckus about 30 minutes into Trump’s rally in New Hampshire, which was held during his customary August vacation, when a small group of people tried to interrupt his remarks with banners proclaiming “Jews Against the Occupation,” according to the Washington Post.

A man next to them, later identified by news outlets as Dawson, “was sitting nearby and quickly leaped into action,” the Post reported. “He grabbed one banner from a protester and threw it into a nearby entryway. He grabbed the second and, after a brief struggle, threw it over the edge of the balcony where it fluttered into the crowd below.”

But Trump, 73, appears to have only seen Dawson and not the actual protestors, whom security removed.

“That guy’s got a serious weight problem,” Trump said. “Go home, start exercising. Get him out of here, please.”

“Got a bigger problem than I do!” the president continued. “Got a bigger problem than all of us. Now he goes home and his mom says, ‘What the hell have you just done?’ “

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President Donald Trump
Chip Somodevilla/Getty

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Immediately afterward, Trump resumed his scripted remarks about his “movement … built on love.”

Speaking with Fox News later, however, Dawson took the insults in stride, laughing as he recalled the moment.

“Everything’s good, I love the guy,” Dawson said. “He’s the best thing that ever happened to this country.” The president called Dawson after the rally and left him a message, according to the Post.

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Trump has for years gleefully derided the protestors at his rallies and at times appeared to support or at least condone violence against them, such as when he said he might pay the legal fees for a supporter arrested after sucker-punching a protestor in 2016.

A Trump campaign spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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