The Inside Story of a Trump Volunteer Blocking a Photographer at a Rally

August 31, 2018

The image of a Trump campaign volunteer blocking the lens of a news photographer’s camera at a rally Thursday went viral overnight.

Even by the standards of a rally by President Donald Trump – who frequently points out journalists covering his events and calls them “enemy of the people” and “fake news” – this was out of the ordinary, says the photographer who captured the moment in Evansville, Indiana.

“We’re all just trying to do our job, which is to be fair and accurately document the President. When someone impedes you from doing your job, that’s something to be upset about,” Associated Press photographer Evan Vucci tells TIME.

Vucci says he made the picture as a fellow photojournalist Kevin Lamarque of Reuters tried photograph Trump supporters pointing out a protestor in the crowd. In a flash, a campaign volunteer put his hand in front of Lamarque’s lens to stop him. Lamarque managed to get a shot anyway.

Kevin Lamarque—ReutersTrump supporters point out a protester to be removed during President Trump’s “Make America Great Again” rally in Evansville, Ind, August 30, 2018.

Vucci has been covering Trump since his 2016 campaign and has photographed dozens of his rallies. Vucci says Trump’s staff is usually professional and no different from other campaign staff he has worked with in the past.

“It was just something so out of the ordinary, I’ve never seen that before so I assumed people would react to the photo.” Vucci says.

Vucci, who knows Lamarque well, says he talked to him right after the incident.

“I said ‘Hey man I have a photo of this happening’ and everyone was happy it was captured,” Vucci says.

White House Correspondents’ Association President Olivier Knox said in a statement Friday he had spoken with both the White House and the Trump campaign about the volunteer.

“The Trump campaign assures me that these were the actions of an inexperienced volunteer, who understands he acted in error. The campaign has taken him off the road and promises this will not happen again.” Knox said in a statement.

In 2016 TIME photographer Christopher Morris was detained by U.S Secret Service and local law enforcement while attempting to photograph a Black Lives Matter protestor at a Trump rally in Virginia.

Trump was in Indiana in support of Republican Senate candidate Mike Braun, who is running against Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly. At rallies, he often directs angry comments at journalists covering his events and pauses to let supporters boo. He also has a history of pointing out protestors and encouraging the crowd to boo until security removes them. During the campaign, there were instances of protestors being assaulted at Trump rallies.

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