NBC’s Katy Tur Unloads on Trump Over Violence at Rallies, Michelle Fields Incident

The usually even-keeled NBC News Trump correspondent Katy Tur seemed to have had enough on Thursday night as following the Republican presidential debate, Tur took to MSNBC to air a multitude of concerns about the growing number of violent incidents at Trump rallies to go along with Tuesday’s alleged bruising of Breitbart’s Michelle Fields by Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. 

Prior to Tur’s comments, she was asked by host Chris Matthews a brief but open-ended question about what she’s seen in terms of Trump’s “changes of mood” and “reactions to any legitimate questions from the press.”

Tur observed that Trump has been “playing it safe and doesn't want to lose the state of Florida right now” in addition to Ohio and thus attempting “to keep the rhetoric at least a little bit more above the board tonight.”

However, Tur then broke her normally neutral line in reporting to admit that “there has been a lot more tension at these rallies, a lot more violence” recently and called out Trump supporter/former Apprentice contestant Omarosa for suggesting it’s been only one isolated case.

“I have to take issue with that because we've seen a number of occasions where protesters have been roughed up by Trump supporters,” Tur explained.

Moments later, she added that “the idea that it's just one guy acting out of bounds is just, frankly, not true and I tried and press him on his tone and his rhetoric at these rallies” but has had little to no success.

Turning briefly to her personal safety, she expressed concern that Trump has been churning crowds into “more of a frenzy” and thus “[w]e have felt at times me and the other reporters in the room that we are on the precipice of something potentially very bad happening, so, it's not just one person” because “[i]t happens very frequently and it's happening even more.”

Tur spent the reminder of her extended commentary by highlighting the latest in Tuesday night’s incident in which Lewandowski allegedly grabbed the arm of Fields and caused bruising that has since been confirmed by The Washington Post’s Ben Terris (who’s stated he was a witness to what transpired). 

Admitting that Lewandowski “has been extraordinarily antagonistic towards the press this entire time” and that “[c]learly, he did not like that line of questioning,” Tur closed by venting her frustration over this thanks to what someone close to the campaign told her:

[S]o far, when it comes to pushing back on the campaign in any way, or trying to get them to admit that maybe at times they've gone a little too far, they have not done that and in fact, I spoke to somebody who's very close to this campaign earlier today and he said that they basically thought that Corey was a ticking time bomb and they were hoping that the campaign manager that he didn't go overboard. That nothing like this happened but they're not surprised that these allegations have surfaced from this Breitbart reporter. 

The relevant portion of the transcript from MSNBC’s A Special Edition of Hardball with Chris Matthews in the early hours of March 11 can be found below.

MSNBC’s A Special Edition of Hardball with Chris Matthews
March 11, 2016
12:02 a.m. Eastern

KATY TUR: I think that he's, as we've been saying, I think he's playing it safe and doesn't want to lose the state of Florida right now. He's doing really well. I think he wants to do well in Ohio and he's trying to keep the rhetoric at least a little bit more above the board tonight but we were really pressing him today on what's going on at his rallies and lately the past few weeks, the past week and a half or so, there has been a lot more tension at these rally, a lot more violence and when Omarosa says that it's one protester who's done this or Mr. Trump says it's just one — excuse me supporter who's punched a protester, I have to take issue with that because we've seen a number of occasions where protesters have been roughed up by Trump supporters. Yes, there are thousands of people, if not hundreds of people in these rooms. Yes, these protesters are just small pockets of people who are trying to disrupt this rally, but oftentimes, these protesters have their hands up like this, they're being led out by security, they're being led out by the police and that is often when we're seeing these Trump supporters go after them and get aggressive with them, so the idea that it's just one guy acting out of bounds is just, frankly, not true and I tried and press him on his tone and his rhetoric at these rallies and Jake Tapper did during the debate, as well, saying that, you know, he says get them out, in the old days, we used to be able to take care of them sooner or punch them in the face or I'll pay for your legal bills if you rough them up and this is not the sort of rhetoric that calms these situations down. 

Often, he'll start saying that as these protesters are trying to disrupt and are being let out while he keeps saying this over and over again and the crowd gets whipped up into more and more of a frenzy. We have felt at times me and the other reporters in the room that we are on the precipice of something potentially very bad happening. So, it's not just one person. It happens very frequently and it's happening even more so because now we're getting more Black Lives Matters protesters who are deliberately trying to disrupt the rallies. 

I also asked Mr. Trump as you saw about this Michelle Fields incident and his campaign manager, his campaign manager has been extraordinarily antagonistic towards the press this entire time. Clearly, he did not like that line of questioning. So far, there has not been video to prove any of her allegations but there is an audio clip that's out there and she has posted video of bruises on her arm. She's even asked Mr. Trump what he would say if that was his daughter, but so far, when it comes to pushing back on the campaign in any way, or trying to get them to admit that maybe at times they've gone a little too far, they have not done that and in fact, I spoke to somebody who's very close to this campaign earlier today and he said that they basically thought that Corey was a ticking time bomb and they were hoping that the campaign manager that he didn't go overboard. That nothing like this happened but they're not surprised that these allegations have surfaced from this Breitbart reporter. 

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center