When Univision anchor Jorge Ramos kept asking Donald Trump tough questions about immigration policy—until Trump’s security forces physically removed one of the nation’s most prominent journalists from what was supposedly a press conference—he was not just challenging a billionaire blowhard. He was challenging a political process that has veered toward absurdity.
Some critics claim that Ramos, who is often described as “the nation’s top Latino newsman,” offended journalistic and political propriety when he rose at a reasonable point during a Tuesday press conference in the first caucus state of Iowa to question a candidate for president.
But it was Trump, who has avoided interview requests from Ramos and Univision while racing to make himself available to more amenable media, who had called the press conference and invited questions. And it was Trump whose initial response to Ramos was to interrupt a legitimate line of questioning with repeated demands that the veteran journalist “sit down.”
“You weren’t called,” declared Trump. “Sit down. Sit down.”
When Ramos persisted in asking questions about the immigration issues that Trump claims to have moved to the forefront of the national agenda—“I’m a reporter, an immigrant, and a citizen. I have the right to ask a question…”—the leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination became even more agitated.
“You haven’t been called, go back to Univision,” raged Trump.
It was at that point when Ramos was grabbed and escorted from the room. Eventually, Ramos was allowed to return and, when Trump cooled down, to raise some questions. But the image of a journalist being physically ejected from a presidential candidate’s press conference because he was raising reasonable—and necessary—questions has created the latest media mayhem for a Trump campaign that is already in the midst of running conflicts with Fox News and The Des Moines Register and various and sundry other news outlets.
As National Association of Hispanic Journalists president Mekahlo Medina noted, “Mr. Ramos was doing what journalists have done for decades—asking questions! Ramos was simply trying to hold a candidate for president accountable for statements he made about a very important topic to the American people. Mr. Trump has avoided Mr. Ramos’ attempts for an interview to reasonably discuss Mr. Trump’s opinions and ideas about immigration and American children born to undocumented immigrants.”