World / Politics

In viral photo, Trump volunteer blocks news photographer's shot of protester

AP, Reuters, Staff Report

A striking photo of a volunteer member of the advance team for U.S. President Donald Trump blocking a photojournalist’s camera as he tried to take a photo of a protester during a campaign rally in Indiana has gone viral on social media, prompting condemnation from fellow journalists.

The photo, taken by Associated Press photographer Evan Vucci on Thursday night in Evansville, shows the volunteer stretching out his right hand over the lens of a news photographer’s camera after a protester disrupted Trump’s campaign event.

Trump paced on stage at the Ford Center during the moments it took for the protester to be led out.

Responding to the photo, Gregory Kote, a reporter for USA Today, wrote on Twitter that the move was “crossing a line,” while AP White House reporter Zeke Miller tweeted that the volunteer had been “caught in the act.”

Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Thursday.

The president has criticized reporting of his administration and lambasted the media as an “enemy of the people,” stoking concerns about press freedoms and possible violence against journalists.

Earlier this week, federal authorities charged a California man with threatening to kill Boston Globe employees for the newspaper’s role leading this month’s defense of press freedoms by hundreds of U.S. news organizations against attacks by Trump.

Prosecutors said Robert Chain, 68, called journalists “the enemy of the people” in threatening phone calls, echoing the phrase Trump has used to criticize unflattering news coverage through his campaign and years in office. Chain was arrested Thursday.

In June, five people were shot dead at a newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, allegedly by a man with a long-standing grudge against the paper, prosecutors said.

The president was in Evansville on Thursday to stump for Republican Senate candidate Mike Braun, who is looking to unseat Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in what is viewed as one of the nation’s most competitive Senate races.