Reality Check: Trump’s wild misrepresentation of Obama’s response to a protester

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WASHINGTON  — To hear Donald Trump describe it, President Barack Obama was “really screaming” at a pro-Trump protester whose appearance at a Hillary Clinton rally momentarily interrupted the President’s remarks.

“You have to go back and look and study and see what happened,” Trump told supporters Friday.

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So we did. And Trump’s description of Obama’s response is flatly misleading.

Here’s what happened: Obama was speaking in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Friday afternoon when a protester stood up holding a Trump sign. That led the crowd of Clinton supporters to boo, a common response to protesters during rallies for both candidates this election.

But the President wasn’t having it.

“Hold up! Hold up!” Obama repeatedly called to the crowd, never once addressing the protester and certainly not, as Trump put it, “really screaming” at him.

More to the point, Obama’s rebuke was directed at the Clinton supporters, not the protester. He first told the audience they shouldn’t worry about the man, who was peacefully conducting himself.

“We live in a country that respects free speech. Second of all, it looks like maybe he might have served in our military and we’ve got to respect that,” Obama said. “Third of all, he was elderly and we’ve got to respect our elders.”

Trump — who called Obama’s response “a disgrace” — didn’t mention Obama’s plea for respect for the protester. Instead, he said the President “spent so much time screaming at this protester.”

Trump also conveniently forgot to mention Obama’s suggestion to angry Clinton protesters.

“Don’t boo,” the President said, repeating one of his oft-uttered 2016 phrases. “Vote.”

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