BBC asks White House for security review after Trump rally attack

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Media captionA Trump supporter shoves a BBC cameraman at the El Paso rally

The BBC has requested the White House review security for media attending President Donald Trump’s rallies after an attack on one of its cameramen.

The BBC’s Ron Skeans was shoved and sworn at by a man in a Make America Great Again cap during the president’s rally in El Paso, Texas on Monday.

On Tuesday the BBC said the press area was unsupervised, and no security tried to intervene during the incident.

Mr Trump has been critical of media, which he calls the enemy of the people.

A response from Mr Trump’s campaign team thanked law enforcement for ejecting the unidentified man.

“An individual involved in a physical altercation with a news cameraman was removed from last night’s rally,” said Michael Glassner, the chief operating officer for Trump for President Inc.

“We appreciate the swift action from venue security and law enforcement officers.”

What happened at the rally?

The man, who a Trump campaign official said appeared to be drunk, gave Mr Skeans a “very hard shove”, according to the cameraman.

Mr Skeans said the man almost knocked him and his camera over twice before he was wrestled away by a blogger.

President Trump saw the attack, checked they were well with a thumbs up and continued his speech after Mr Skeans returned the gesture.

BBC Washington producer Eleanor Montague and Washington correspondent Gary O’Donoghue were sitting in front of the camera.

Ms Montague said the protester had attacked other news crews but Mr Skeans “got the brunt of it”.

What did the BBC letter say?

In a letter to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, the BBC’s Americas Bureaux Editor Paul Danahar asked for a review of security arrangements for members of the press attending the president’s rallies.

Mr Danahar pointed out “that access into the media area last night was unsupervised and that no member of law enforcement or security stopped the attacker entering, intervened when he began his attack or followed up on the incident with our colleagues afterwards”.

The White House has not responded to the request.

“It is clearly unacceptable for any of our staff to be attacked for doing their job,” the BBC said in an earlier statement.

What is the background?

The president went to El Paso, on the US border with Mexico, to campaign for a border wall, a divisive issue which caused the longest government shutdown in US history.

Ms Montague said the president had spoken of “fake news” and how the media misrepresented him in the run up to the assault.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr O’Donoghue said it was “an incredibly violent attack”.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Mr Trump wrote: “Beautiful evening in El Paso, Texas last night. God Bless the USA!”

Last August UN experts warned Mr Trump’s attacks “increase the risk of journalists being targeted with violence”, calling his rhetoric “strategic”.

New York Times publisher AG Sulzberger has urged the president to stop his media assaults.