In an interview Sunday, August 23, George Stephanopoulos asked Scott Walker if he told his fundraisers that he has to do better on the campaign trail with “protests, passion and policies.”
Walker answered that he thinks “… people want to see what they saw the other day at the Iowa State Fair where we had protesters—one who tried to come up on the stage—and I said, ‘I am not intimidated by you, sir. I’m not intimidated by the left, I’m not intimidated by the special interests from Washington, I’m certainly not intimidated by the big government union bosses.’ But early on there were a few even in my own party, the state assembly was great, most of our state senate, but a few of our state senators, some of whom had been in leadership, did not want to do the big bold reforms we did and we took them on, just like I’ll take anybody on including the leadership of my own party …”
But a video from Addicting Info of the Iowa fair clearly shows Matthew Desmond quietly holding a “Warning, don’t let Walker do the United States what he did to Wisconsin” sign. Walker supporters grab at the sign and harass Matthew, until one man shoves Matthew from behind, causing Matthew to partially go across the stage fencing as he held a sign over his head. Then Walker, surrounded by staff and supporters, pointed a finger in Matthew’s face and yelled directly at him, causing the bullying crowd to wildly cheer.
Major media outlets have given Walker a free pass to use the scene to pander to his donors on a platform of being unintimidated. NBC News did not include the footage of Matthew getting pushed, instead claiming that Walker and his supporters sought to overpower a group of boisterous protesters.
Cropped photos, such as the one Wisconsin’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran, show Walker pointing out the protester, but cut out the sea of Walker supporters and staff. News of how Matthew was shoved around by Walker supporters is barely mentioned. The man in the glasses continues to try and grab Matt’s sign.
The National Journal reported that “… one plaid-clad protester directly in front of Walker held up a sign as at least two Walker defenders tried to jump and grab it from his hands and one ultimately succeeded. Noticing the tussle, Walker chimed in, pointing to the young man.” (Note the favorable language used in the article toward the man pushing and ripping another man’s property.)
Obviously, this is part of Walker’s promise to his fundraisers that he will “do better on the campaign trail with protestors.” To Walker, that means lying to a willing media and chiming in with bullies. While we can expect protesters and supporters to clash when presidential candidates speak in public, it is unseemly that a presidential candidate would join in on the mob mentality.
Meanwhile back in Wisconsin, even Walker’s Republican Senate is becoming fed up with his posturing as he throws them under the bus, claiming he had to take on his own party. Republican Senator Luther Olsen responded: “Taking on your friends … and saying you were the tough guy? Thanks a lot buddy.”
While we expect protesters and supporters to sometimes clash and news outlets to edit pictures and stories in order to sell their product, it is unsettling that a presidential candidate with a huge following, one who promotes himself as a Christian and an Eagle Scout, so openly lies and turns on people in order to gain donor favor. What is even more unsettling is that so many people are fooled by Scott Walker.