US blames Rwanda for deadly attack on displaced camp in DR Congo

People gather at the side of an explosion in a refugee camp on the outskirts of Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Friday, May, 3, 2024. (AP)
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Updated 05 May 2024

US blames Rwanda for deadly attack on displaced camp in DR Congo

  • DR Congo government spokesman Patrick Muyaya on Friday had also accused “the Rwandan army and its M23 terrorist supporters” of being responsible in a statement on X, the former Twitter

WASHINGTON: The United States has accused Rwanda of involvement in a deadly attack on a camp for displaced people in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a claim dismissed as “absurd” by Kigali on Saturday.
At least nine people were killed in blasts on Friday in the camp on the outskirts of the city of Goma, local sources said.
“The United States strongly condemns the attack (Friday) from Rwanda Defense Forces and M23 positions on the Mugunga camp for internally displaced persons in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.
Miller said the United States was “gravely concerned” by the expansion in DR Congo of Rwandan forces and the M23, a mostly Tutsi group that resumed its armed campaign in the vast, long turbulent DR Congo in 2021.
“It is essential that all states respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and hold accountable all actors for human rights abuses in the conflict in eastern DRC,” he said.
DR Congo government spokesman Patrick Muyaya on Friday had also accused “the Rwandan army and its M23 terrorist supporters” of being responsible in a statement on X, the former Twitter.
Rwandan government spokesperson Yolande Makolo described the US comments as “ridiculous,” in a post on X.
“How do you come to this absurd conclusion? The RDF, a professional army, would never attack an IDP camp,” she said.
“Look to the lawless FDLR and Wazalendo supported by the FARDC (the Congolese armed forces), for this kind of atrocity,” she added.
The FDLR, or Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, is an armed ethnic Hutu group operating in Congo’s east for 30 years, while Wazalendo is fighting the M23 alongside the Congolese army.
The origin of Friday’s blasts has not been clearly established.
According to witnesses, government forces positioned near the camp had been bombarding the rebels on hills further west since early morning and, according to a civil society activist, “the M23 retaliated by throwing bombs indiscriminately.”
“Horror in its most serious form! A bomb on civilians, deaths, children! A new war crime,” said the government spokesman Muyaya.
The United States has repeatedly backed Kinshasa’s claims that Rwanda has backed the M23, but Miller’s statement amounts to an unusually direct implication.
France’s President Emmanuel Macron also this week called on Rwanda to end its backing for M23 rebels and withdraw its troops from DR Congo territory.
President Paul Kagame in turn has demanded that the DR Congo act against Hutu forces over ties with the perpetrators of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, which mostly targeted Tutsis.
The United States has repeatedly sought to mediate between the two sides, with intelligence chief Avril Haines in November visiting DR Congo and Rwanda and announcing a pathway to reduce tensions.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken this year met Kagame and voiced hope that Rwanda was willing to engage in diplomacy.


Donald Trump injured but safe in apparent assassination bid; shooter killed by Secret Service agents

Updated 14 July 2024

Donald Trump injured but safe in apparent assassination bid; shooter killed by Secret Service agents

  • One rally attendee killed, two spectators injured as gunman opens fire at Trump rally
  • Biden describes attack as “sick,” says “no place in America for this kind of violence”

BUTLER, Pennsylvania: Donald Trump was hit in the ear in an apparent assassination attempt by a gunman at a campaign rally on Saturday, in a chaotic and shocking incident that will fuel fears of instability ahead of the 2024 US presidential election.
The 78-year-old former president was rushed off stage with blood smeared across his face after the shooting in Butler, Pennsylvania, while the gunman and a bystander were killed and two spectators critically injured.
The Republican candidate raised a defiant fist to the crowd as he was bundled away to safety and said afterward “I was shot with a bullet that pierced the upper part of my right ear.”
President Joe Biden, who is set to face Trump in November’s deeply polarized election, said the incident was “sick” and added that there was “no place in America for this kind of violence.”
“We cannot be like this,” Biden said.
As the bangs ran out, Trump, wearing a red “Make America Great Again” cap, grimaced and clutched a hand to his ear, with blood visible on his ear and cheek.
He fell to the floor as Secret Service agents swarmed onto the podium, surrounding him and escorting him roughly off the stage to a nearby vehicle.

“It is incredible that such an act can take place in our Country,” Trump said on his TruthSocial network within hours, in remarks sure to stoke political tensions already engulfing the United States.
“I knew immediately that something was wrong in that I heard a whizzing sound, shots, and immediately felt the bullet ripping through the skin,” Trump said.
“Much bleeding took place, so I realized then what was happening.”

The US Secret Service said in a statement that the suspected shooter “fired multiple shots toward the stage from an elevated position outside the rally” before being “neutralized” by agents.
It said Trump was “safe and being evaluated” while confirming the death of a spectator while two others were critically injured.
The shooter has not yet been identified.
Trump said in his statement that “I want to extend my condolences to the family of the person of the rally who was killed.”
With the attack sending shock waves around the world, Biden said that he hoped to speak to Trump soon.
The shooting happened shortly after Trump took the stage at his final campaign rally before the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee next week.
Signaling the political stakes at play, possible Trump vice presidential pick J.D. Vance quickly blamed Biden’s “rhetoric” for the shooting.

The rally descended into panic after shots were heard and screams and shouts rang out.
“Let me get my shoes,” Trump was heard saying on microphone, as security agents helped him back to his feet.
He turned back to the crowd and repeatedly raised his fist, as well as mouthing words that weren’t immediately discernable, in what is set to become an iconic image.
Agents bundled the tycoon into an SUV, as he once more raised his fist to the crowd.
“We saw a lot of people go down, looking confused. I heard the shots,” said John Yeykal from Franklin, Pennsylvania, who was attending his first Trump rally.

Republicans, Democrats denounce violence

Former president Barack Obama said there was “absolutely no place for political violence in our democracy.”
Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell added: “Tonight, all Americans are grateful that President Trump appears to be fine after a despicable attack on a peaceful rally. Violence has no place in our politics.”
Billionaire Elon Musk reacted by quickly endorsing Trump.
“I fully endorse President Trump and hope for his rapid recovery,” Musk wrote on X, which he owns along with car manufacturer Tesla, as he shared a video of Trump pumping his fist while being escorted away.
The United States has a history of political violence, and presidents, former presidents and candidates have tight security.
President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 while riding in his motorcade, and his brother Bobby Kennedy was shot dead in 1968. President Ronald Reagan survived an assassination attempt in 1981.

Trump is due to receive his party’s formal nomination at the Republican National Convention, which kicks off in Milwaukee on Monday.
“This horrific act of political violence at a peaceful campaign rally has no place in this country and should be unanimously and forcefully condemned,” Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson said on social media.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he was horrified by what happened and was relieved Trump was safe. “Political violence has no place in our country,” he said.
A Secret Service spokesperson said on social media: “The Secret Service has implemented protective measures and the former president is safe ... This is now an active Secret Service investigation and further information will be released when available.”
CNN reported that Trump was injured, but gave no other details. It was not clear how or what injuries he may have sustained.

Witness saw shooter on rooftop

Ron Moose, a Trump supporter who was in the crowd, described the chaos: “I heard about four shots and I saw the crowd go down and then Trump ducked also real quick. Then the Secret Service all jumped and protected him as soon as they could. We are talking within a second they were all protecting him.”
Moose said he then saw a man running and being chased by officers in military uniforms. He said he heard additional shots, but was unsure who fired them. He noted that by then snipers had set up on the roof of a warehouse behind the stage.
The BBC interviewed a man who described himself as an eyewitness, saying he saw a man armed with a rifle crawling up a roof near the event. The person, who the BBC did not identify, said he and the people he was with started pointing at the man, trying to alert security.
“I am thinking to myself, why is Trump still speaking. Why have they not pulled him off stage,” said the man, who was wearing a red Trump hat. “Next thing you know, five shots rang out.”

The venue was abandoned with chairs knocked over and yellow police tape around the stage. A helicopter flew above and law enforcement officers walked through the area, the video feed showed. Armed law enforcement officers were also seen on a roof near the stage where Trump was standing.
Biden’s campaign was working to pause its television ads and halting all other outbound communication, a campaign official said on Saturday.
Trump, who served as president from 2017-2021, easily bested his rivals for the Republican nomination early in the campaign and has largely unified around him the party that had briefly wavered in support after his supporters attacked the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, attempting to overturn his 2020 election defeat.
The businessman and former reality television star entered the year facing a raft of legal worries, including four separate criminal prosecutions. He was found guilty in late May of trying to cover up hush money payments to a porn star, but the other three prosecutions he faces — including two for his attempts to overturn his defeat — have been ground to a halt by various factors including a Supreme Court decision early this month that found him to be partly immune to prosecution.

Biden leads condemnation after Trump wounded at rally shooting

Updated 14 July 2024

Biden leads condemnation after Trump wounded at rally shooting

  • Former President Obama said "absolutely no place for political violence in our democracy,” George Bush called it a “cowardly” attack
  • But some prominent Republicans swiftly pointed the finger at Biden’s reelection campaign "rhetoric" for the violence

WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden led the condemnation after his election rival Donald Trump was wounded in an apparent assassination attempt at a Pennsylvania rally on Saturday, as some Republicans blamed the Biden campaign for the violence.
Political leaders on both sides of the aisle slammed the attack minutes after the Republican candidate was rushed off stage by the Secret Service with blood running down his face.
“There’s no place in America for this kind of violence. It’s sick. It’s sick. It’s one of the reasons why we have to unite this country... We cannot be like this, we cannot condone this,” Biden told reporters in an emergency briefing at his house in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
“The idea that there’s political violence, or violence in America like this, is just unheard of. It’s just not appropriate. Everybody, everybody must condemn it. Everybody,” Biden said.
Vice President Kamala Harris said on X: “We are praying for him, his family, and all those who have been injured and impacted by this senseless shooting.”
Biden’s former boss, Barack Obama, echoed his words in a statement, saying there was “absolutely no place for political violence in our democracy.”
“Although we don’t yet know exactly what happened, we should all be relieved that former President Trump wasn’t seriously hurt, and use this moment to recommit ourselves to civility and respect in our politics,” he said on X.
Former president George W. Bush condemned the “cowardly” attack.
“Laura and I are grateful that President Trump is safe following the cowardly attack on his life. And we commend the men and women of the Secret Service for their speedy response,” the Republican said in a statement.
Bill and Hillary Clinton also condemned the violence.
“Hillary and I are thankful that President Trump is safe, heartbroken for all those affected by the attack at today’s rally in Pennsylvania, and grateful for the swift action of the US Secret Service,” the former president wrote on X.
But some prominent Republicans, including one of Trump’s potential running mates, J.D. Vance, swiftly pointed the finger at Biden’s reelection campaign.
“Today is not just some isolated incident,” Vance wrote on X. “The central premise of the Biden campaign is that President Donald Trump is an authoritarian fascist who must be stopped at all costs. That rhetoric led directly to President Trump’s attempted assassination.”
“The Republican District Attorney in Butler County, PA, should immediately file charges against Joseph R. Biden for inciting an assassination,” wrote Republican Congressman Mike Collins of Georgia, also on X.

Trump’s shocked children also took to social media.
“This is the fighter America needs!” son Eric Trump wrote above a photo of his father with blood running down his cheek, his fist in the air and an American flag waving in the background as the Secret Service rushed him from the stage.
Donald Trump Jr posted the same photo, writing on X: “He’ll never stop fighting to Save America.”
“I love you Dad, today and always,” daughter Ivanka posted on X, thanking supporters as well as the Secret Service for their “quick and decisive actions today.”
“I continue to pray for our country,” she said.
From the Senate, top Democrat Chuck Schumer said he was “horrified” by the shooting, while his Republican counterpart Mitch McConnell slammed it as “despicable.”
“I thank God that former President Trump is safe. As we learn more details about this horrifying incident, let us pray that all those in attendance at the former President’s rally today are unharmed,” former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote on X.
Tech billionaire Elon Musk said Saturday that he “fully” endorses Trump after the rally violence, and hopes “for his rapid recovery.”
“Had it been less than a half inch to the right, he would not have survived,” the Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, posted on X.
“Trump is truly blessed.”
Vivek Ramaswamy, who challenged Trump for the Republican presidential nomination at the primaries, said the same.
“We believe the fact that President Trump is safe right now is nothing short of an act of God,” he wrote on X.
“Today, the future survival of the United States of America came down to less than a hair’s width in the path of a bullet.”

Billionaires Elon Musk, Bill Ackman endorse Trump in presidential race

Updated 14 July 2024

Billionaires Elon Musk, Bill Ackman endorse Trump in presidential race

  • Musk, who has been ramping up criticism of US President Joe Biden, said Trump has proved that he is "tough"
  • Musk has said he previously voted for Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton as well as Biden

Billionaires Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, and hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, publicly endorsed Donald Trump for the first time in the US presidential race, with Musk calling the Republican former president “tough.”

Musk, the world’s richest person, posted the endorsement with a video of Trump with blood on his face pumping his fist after multiple shots rang out at Trump’s rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday. Trump was safe.
The posts cement Musk’s shift toward right-wing politics and hand Trump a high-profile backer in his quest to return to the White House in the Nov. 5 election.
“I fully endorse President Trump and hope for his rapid recovery,” Musk posted on his social media platform X.
“The martyr lived,” he wrote in a later post, citing a reported debate between conservative venture capitalist Peter Thiel and LinkedIn co-founder and Democratic megadonor Reid Hoffman.


Musk later posted a photograph of Trump at the event, followed by: “Last time America had a candidate this tough was Theodore Roosevelt.”
Musk and representatives from X did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Musk, who has been ramping up criticism of US President Joe Biden, has donated to a political group working to elect Trump, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing sources.
The South African-born businessman’s sway stands to benefit Trump, since Musk has one of the largest footprints on X with 189.5 million followers, meaning his posts can instantaneously spread widely.
Musk has said he previously voted for Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton as well as Biden.
However, in the last few years, Musk has espoused right-wing views, becoming a fierce critic of diversity initiatives, Biden’s immigration policies and complaining that Democrats had given a “very cold shoulder” to Tesla and his rocket company SpaceX.
In March, Trump, who is expected to be formally nominated next week as the Republican Party’s candidate for the Nov. 5 election, reportedly met with Musk and other wealthy donors.
In response to reports of the meeting, Musk posted on X: “Just to be super clear, I am not donating money to either candidate for US President.” In May, he also denied media reports that there had been talks over a potential advisory role for him in any Trump presidency.

In July 2022, Musk said Trump was “too old to be” president of the United States, and Trump needed to “sail into the sunset.” Musk also said he was leaning toward supporting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for president in 2024.

Trump hit back, calling Musk a “Bull***t artist“.
Then in late 2022, Twitter reversed its ban on former US President Trump shortly after Musk completed his $44 billion purchase of the controversial social media platform, which he later renamed X.
Last month, Trump said he was “a fan of Elon,” adding “he does an incredible job with Tesla.”
Musk said at a recent Tesla shareholder meeting that the two men had “some conversations.” Trump is a “huge fan” of Tesla’s electric pickup trucks, Musk said.
Trump has reiterated his pledge to immediately abandon the Biden administration’s “mandate” to support the electric vehicle industry.
Musk’s support for Republicans and his antisemitic and other controversial comments have alienated some Tesla customers, weighing on the carmaker’s reputation and sales. (Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin and Alexandra Ulmer, additional reporting by Rami Ayyub and Gnaneshwar Rajan, editing by Deepa Babington, Lananh Nguyen and Franklin Paul)

For his part, hedge fund manager Ackman posted on social media platform X endorsing Trump after the Republican candidate was shot during his campaign rally.
“I just endorsed him,” Ackman said.  “But you know me. I write long posts on important topics. I want people to understand my thinking so it means more and helps others get to the right place,” Ackman said in response to an X user.

Ackman had considered endorsing Trump as recently as May, and had planned to announce his support on X, Reuters and other media outlets reported.
A spokesperson for Ackman did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

World leaders react to Trump rally shooting, UN chief calls it ‘act of political violence’

Updated 14 July 2024

World leaders react to Trump rally shooting, UN chief calls it ‘act of political violence’

  • “Political violence in any form has no place in our societies,” said British PM Keir Starmer
  • Argentina’s rightwing President Javier Milei blamed the “international left” for the assassination attempt

WASHINGTON: World leaders on Sunday reacted with shock to the wounding of Donald Trump in an assassination attempt against the former US president at an election rally.

Presidents and prime ministers globally spoke out against political violence and expressed their support for those affected by the shooting on Saturday, which killed one bystander and left two other spectators critically wounded.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ spokesperson condemned the shooting as an "act of political violence," according his chief spokesperson.
“The Secretary-General unequivocally condemns this act of political violence. He sends his best wishes to President Trump for a speedy recovery,” the spokesperson added.

British Prime Minister Keir Starmer said he was “appalled by the shocking scenes” at the rally.

“Political violence in any form has no place in our societies,” the premier said.

Referring to “these dark hours,” Hungary’s nationalist leader Victor Orban offered his “thoughts and prayers” to Trump.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said she was “following with apprehension” updates from Pennsylvania and wished Trump a speedy recovery. The right-wing leader expressed her hope that “in the following months of the electoral campaign, dialogue and responsibility can prevail over hate and violence.”

Argentina’s President Javier Milei blamed the “international left” after the assassination attempt. “In panic of losing at the polls, they resort to terrorism to impose their backward and authoritarian agenda,” said the populist president.

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said the shooting “must be strongly condemned by all defenders of democracy and political dialogue.”

Costa Rica’s government condemned the attack and said it was following updates on “this unacceptable act.” “As a leader in democracy and peace, we reject all forms of violence,” the presidency said.

Chilean President Gabriel Boric expressed his “unqualified condemnation” of the shooting. “Violence is a threat to democracies and weakens our life together. We must all reject it,” said Boric.

In Bolivia, President Luis Arce said “despite our deep ideological and political differences, violence, wherever it comes from, must always be rejected by everyone.”

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida spoke out against political attacks, saying “we must stand firm against any form of violence that challenges democracy.”

Australia’s Anthony Albanese described the shooting as “concerning and confronting,” expressing his relief that Trump was safe.

“There is no place for violence in the democratic process,” the prime minister said.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Chris Luxon echoed such views, writing “no country should encounter such political violence.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he and his wife Sara “were shocked by the apparent attack on President Trump.”

“We pray for his safety and speedy recovery,” Netanyahu said. Political violence “never acceptable,” remarked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Shooting at Trump rally is being investigated as assassination attempt

Updated 14 July 2024

Shooting at Trump rally is being investigated as assassination attempt

  • A local prosecutor said the suspected gunman and at least one attendee are dead
  • The attack was the first attempt to assassinate a president or presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981

BUTLER, Pennsylvania: Donald Trump appeared to be the target of an assassination attempt as he spoke during a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday, law enforcement officials said. The former president, his ear covered in blood, was quickly pulled away by Secret Service agents and his campaign said he was “fine.”
A local prosecutor said the suspected gunman and at least one attendee are dead. It wasn’t immediately clear if Trump was shot.
The attack, by a shooter who law enforcement officials say was then killed by the Secret Service, was the first attempt to assassinate a president or presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981. It comes amid a deeply polarized political atmosphere, just four months from the presidential elections and days before Trump is to be officially named the Republican nominee at his party’s convention.
“President Trump thanks law enforcement and first responders for their quick action during this heinous act,” spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement. “He is fine and is being checked out at a local medical facility. More details will follow.”
The Secret Service said in a statement that “the former President is safe.” Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., said after 8 p.m. that he spoke to his father on the phone and that “he is in great spirits.”
“There’s no place in America for this type of violence,” President Joe Biden, who is running against Trump as the presumptive Democratic nominee, said in remarks. “It’s sick. It’s sick.”
Two officials spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation. They said the shooter was not an attendee at the rally and was killed by US Secret Service agents.

The officials said the shooter was engaged by members of the US Secret Service counterassault team and killed. The heavily armed tactical team travels everywhere with the president and major party nominees and is meant to confront any active threats while other agents focus on safeguarding and evacuating the person at the center of protection.
It’s still not clear yet whether Trump was struck by gunfire or was injured as he was pulled to the ground by agents.
Butler County district attorney Richard Goldinger said in a phone interview that the suspected gunman was dead and at least one rally attendee was killed.
A rally disrupted by gunfire
Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, was showing off a chart of border crossing numbers during his last rally before the Republican National Convention opens Monday when the apparent shots began.
It took two minutes from the moment of the first shot for Trump to be placed in a waiting SUV.
As Trump was talking, a popping sound was heard, and the former president put his right hand up to his right ear, as people in the stands behind him appeared to be shocked.
As the first pop rang out, Trump said, “Oh,” and grabbed his ear as two more pops could be heard and he crouched down. More shots are heard then.
Someone could be heard saying near the microphone at Trump’s lectern, “Get down, get down, get down, get down!” as agents tackled the former president. They piled atop him to shield him with their bodies, as is their training protocol, as other agents took up positions on stage to search for the threat.
Screams were heard in the crowd of several thousand people. A woman is heard screaming louder than the rest. Afterward, voices were heard saying “shooter’s down” several times, before someone asks “are we good to move?” and “are we clear?” Then, someone ordered, “Let’s move.”
Trump could be heard on the video saying at least twice, “Let me get my shoes, let me get my shoes,” with another voice heard saying, “I’ve got you sir.”
Trump got to his feet moments later and could be seen reaching with his right hand toward his face. There appeared to be blood on his face. He then pumped his fist in the air and appeared to mouth the word “Fight” twice his crowd of supporters, prompting loud cheers and then chants of “USA. USA. USA.”
The crowd cheered as he got back up and pumped his fist.
His motorcade left the venue moments later. Video showed Trump turning back to the crowd and raising a fist right before he is put into a vehicle.
Reporters covering the rally heard five or six shots ring out and many ducked for cover, hiding under tables.
After the first two or three bangs, people in the crowd looked startled, but not panicked. An AP reporter at the scene reported the noise sounded like firecrackers at first or perhaps a car backfiring.
But then there were more shots. Panic set in as people realized what was happening. Shouts of “Get down!” rang through the crowd.
When it was clear the situation had been contained and that Trump would not be returning to speak, attendees started filing out of the venue. One man in an electric wheelchair got stuck on the field when his chair’s battery died. Others tried to help him move.
Police soon told the people remaining to leave the venue and US Secret Service agents told reporters to get “out now. This is a live crime scene.”
Two firefighters from nearby Steubenville, Ohio, who were at the rally told the AP that they helped people who appeared injured and heard bullets hitting broadcast speakers.
“The bullets rattled around the grandstand, one hit the speaker tower and then chaos broke. We hit the ground and then the police converged into the grandstands, said Chris Takach.
“The first thing I heard is a couple of cracks,” Dave Sullivan said.
Sullivan said he saw one of the speakers get hit and bullets rattling and, “we hit the deck.”
He said once Secret Service and other authorities converged on Trump, he and Takach assisted two people who may have been shot in the grandstand and cleared a path to get them out of the way.
“Just a sad day for America,” Sullivan said.
“After we heard the shots got fired, then the hydraulic line was spraying all around, you could see the hydraulic fluid coming out of it. And then the speaker tower started to fall down,” Sullivan said. “Then we heard another shot that, you could hear, you knew something was, it was bullets. It wasn’t firecrackers.”
“They weren’t super loud shots,” he said.
“You could hear it landing, ammunition landing, on metal,” Takach added.
Then they took cover behind a farm tractor.
Sullivan said they were concerned for Trump and saw him stand up.
“He got up and he gave a motion he was OK,” Sullivan said, raising a fist as Trump had.
Political violence again shakes America
The perils of campaigning took on a new urgency after the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in California in 1968, and again in 1972 when Arthur Bremer shot and seriously hurt George Wallace, who was running as an independent on a campaign platform that has sometimes been compared to Trump’s. That led to increased protection of candidates, even as the threats persisted, notably against Jesse Jackson in 1988 and Barack Obama in 2008.
Presidents, particularly after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, have even greater layers of security. Trump is a rarity as both a former president and a current candidate.
Biden was briefed on the incident, the White House said. He received an updated briefing from Kimberly Cheatle, the director of the United States Secretary Service, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and White House homeland security adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall.
He told reporters after 8 p.m. that he hadn’t been able to reach Trump yet but was briefed that the former president was “doing well.”
“I hope I get to speak to him tonight,” he said.
After the shooting at Trump’s rally the Biden campaign was pausing all messaging to supporters and is working to pull down all of its television ads as quickly as possible, the campaign said.
Donald Trump Jr. posted a photo on X of Trump, his fist raised and his face bloody in front of an American flag, with the words: “He’ll never stop fighting to Save America.”
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Sen. JD Vance, the three men on Trump’s shortlist for vice president, all quickly sent out statements expressing concern for the former president, with Rubio sharing an image taken as Trump was escorted off stage with his fist in the air and a streak of blood on his face along with the words “God protected President Trump.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, said in a statement on X that he had been briefed on the situation and Pennsylvania state police were on hand at the rally site.
“Violence targeted at any political party or political leader is absolutely unacceptable. It has no place in Pennsylvania or the United States,” he said.