With eye contact and a short "Go 'head" to a swift-moving member of his security team, Republican presidential candidate and billionaire media personality Donald Trump appeared to authorize the physical ejection of Univision's anchor Jorge Ramos from a press event on Tuesday evening.
Captured by numerous cameras at the event in Iowa, the display of disdain for Ramos and his line of questioning focused on Trump's controversial policy ideas surrounding immigration first saw the real estate mogul tell Ramos to "sit down" and "Go back to Univision" before the security team member moved across the stage closely behind the candidate to remove the well-known journalist from the room.
Subsequently—and despite what witnesses to the episode can judge for themselves based on the video—Trump said it was not his decision to kick out Ramos.
As the Huffington Post reports:
[Trump] insisted that security had made the decision to kick out Ramos, but said he was fine with it.
"This guy stands up and starts screaming," Trump said. "He's obviously a very emotional person."
Trump claimed he didn't know much about Ramos, which may have been true. But he probably should -- Ramos is wildly popular as a Spanish-language anchor and well-regarded for pressing politicians from both parties on issues, particularly immigration.
Trump, by contrast, is mostly disliked by Latinos, and going after Ramos is unlikely to help that fact.
Ramos was let back in to the event minutes later and took the opportunity to ask a number of questions. Watch the exchange:
Meanwhile, Trump continues to paralyze the punditry class by confounding traditional understandings of what a candidate for the nation's highest office is able to get away with. While polls find that Trump continues to lead the large field of Republican candidates, others note that television executives are elated by the ratings bonanza that Trump is providing to both cable news and the major networks.
For progressive critics of Trump, however, the spectacle of Trump's campaign speaks to an ever darker side of America's contemporary political landscape. In an essay for Common Dreams on Tuesday, Christian Christensen, a professor of journalism at Stockholm University in Sweden, said that Trump's candidacy is nothing more than political "junk food" for a global audience that is exuberant to see the hubris and crassness of the American stereotype so wonderfully exemplified in the billionaire real estate mogul who became a reality TV star before ultimately running for president.
Comparing the substantive and populist-driven campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders—which he wishes was "afforded the international media oxygen given to people like Trump"—Christensen writes:
Breathless reports of a depoliticized American citizenry fawning over a cartoonish autocrat make for good reading, but they are also de-contextualized. Trump is polling in the low 20s for a party that will likely get in the high 40s in a national election (in 16 months) where the voter turnout will be in the mid-50s. Yes, that’s still a lot of people, but there are also millions of Americans disgusted with the political status quo as represented by the Republican and Democratic parties. By ignoring those millions in favor of media-friendly crackpots we relegate principled challenges to corporate-dominated politics in the US to a mere footnote in our public debate.
Trump is an easy target, and, more importantly, he’s profitable clickbait. But Trump is also political and journalistic junk food: a diversion from a deeper, uncomfortable discussion about what ails both the US and Europe. There are serious people out there talking about these ailments. It’s time we ate our vegetables.