“She’s back there. Little Katy. She’s back there.”
It was during the Trump rally in Mount Pleasant, North Carolina, when Donald Trump’s aggression towards reporters – particularly of the female variety, and specifically one Katy Tur – escalated beyond the pale.
As Tur has written in a compelling behind-the-scenes story for Marie Claire about her year covering Trump’s election campaign, Trump had been unhappy with Tur’s coverage of protests at the previous rally, calling her a “third rate reporter” who had “lied”. He demanded that she apologise, she refused, and so at the following rally, he made his crowd of whipped-up supporters aware of her physical presence by literally pointing his finger at her.
As Tur recalls, Trump called her out as follows: ” ‘What a lie. Katy Tur. What a lie it was. Third. Rate. Reporter. Remember that.’ The crowd’s boos ricocheted off the iron hull of the USS Yorktown,” she writes.
“The crowd, feeding off Trump, seemed to turn on me like a large animal, angry and unchained.”
So serious was the threat to her, the Secret Service “took the extraordinary step” of walking Tur back to her car.
And that was when it really sank in that what Trump was doing, without being explicit, was essentially inciting violence. Not just among the crowd present, but the millions of Americans watching at home.
“The wave of insults, harassment, and threats, via various social-media feeds, hasn’t stopped since,” she writes. “Many of the attacks are unprintable.
” ‘MAYBE A FEW JOURNALISTS DO NEED TO BE WHACKED,’ tweeted someone with the handle GuyScott33, two weeks after Trump lashed out. ‘MAYBE THEN THEYD STOP BEI[N]G BIASED HACKS. KILL EM ALL STARTING W/ KATY TUR’.”
Tur’s account is timely given the audible dogwhistle Trump delivered this week when he casually suggested ‘Second Amendment people’ (yes, also known as ‘gun people’) could “do something” to stop Hillary Clinton.
The comments were taken by many political analysts as tacit encouragement – deliberate or otherwise – to attempt an assassination on his opponent. In the current climate of political hysteria, hate and fear Trump is whipping up and riding, it seems it’s not such a long bow to draw.