Outside of the rally officially kick-starting off the re-election bid for President Donald Trump, a few rally-goers were stopped from entering the arena where the event was being held in Orlando, Florida.
Orlando Sentinel reporter Michael Williams, who covers the breaking news beat for the paper, was filming the event and happened upon a group of people who were told they could not bring beer into the arena — by hand or by backpack, according to his video.
According to The Washington Post, the individuals involved were clearly intoxicated. One of them, identified as Daniel Patrick Kestner, a resident of St. Augustine, happened to see Williams filming the group and got upset.
Kestner approached Williams with a serious look on his face, telling him to stop filming. Williams kept the camera going, walking backward as Kestner continued to stalk him — until Kestner swiped at Williams’s hand holding the camera, which resulted in security holding him back from the reporter.
The Secret Service also got involved, and Kestner was eventually arrested by Orlando police. He was arrested on a misdemeanor battery charge.
The exchange, as well as other scenes from the rally, was posted to Twitter by Williams in a series of tweets.
“We are fortunate Michael was not hurt, grateful to the Orlando police for their quick action, and proud of all our reporters for their courage and dedication to our community,” the Sentinel wrote in a statement.
Not everyone was thrilled with their reporting, however. State Rep. Anthony Sabatini, a Republican, responded to the Williams’ Twitter thread with a simple reply of “MAGA.”
Sabatini said he writes “MAGA” on tweets made by the Sentinel to highlight reporting he feels is “biased and slanted.”
“And so, all I had to do was put something I think would irk them on a page without any cognitive content — nothing that would actually speak about my position on the matter that they were trying to depict in the news piece at all … but they just ran with it as fast as they could,” he later told the Post.
Julie Anderson, the Sentinel’s editor in chief, said she wasn’t surprised by Sabatini’s response to their reporting “given our history” with him, as he’s been frequently critical of their coverage in the past.
The Orlando Sentinel released an opinion piece by its editorial board earlier on Tuesday, before Trump arrived in their city, in which they had said they were endorsing anyone but Trump for president in 2020. In spite of this “non-endorsement” of the Republican candidate, the Sentinel is actually not considered to be a far-left publication.
Featured image via screen grab