Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump took to Twitter (again) on 8 August 2016 to criticize the news media for lying about him, and one instance he highlighted was a story about his allegedly having kicked a crying baby out of a campaign rally in Ashburn, Virginia:
The media is going crazy. They totally distort so many things on purpose. Crimea, nuclear, “the baby” and so much more. Very dishonest!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 7, 2016
Trump was referring to several misleading headlines published on 2 August 2016 that accused him of demanding that a crying infant be removed from the premises where his campaign was holding a political rally. For instance, the New York Post ran a story under the headline “Trump Loves Crying Baby, Then Kicks the Tot Out of His Rally,” and the New York Daily News published a news video under the title “Trump Kicks Crying Baby Out of Rally” and stated Trump had “booted a fussy baby from a rally”:
Donald Trump booted a fussy baby from a rally because the tot was wailing over the businessman’s speech.
“You can get the baby out of here,” the GOP presidential nominee barked from the stage in Ashburn, Va.
The baby banishment came just seconds after Trump bragged about his love of children and promised that the crying kid could stay.
Trump, however, didn’t actually kick the squalling child out of his rally.
Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star wrote that he was sitting near the baby during the rally, and that while Trump really did make the comments captured in the above-displayed video, the incident was mischaracterized and Trump never actually ordered the tot be removed from the room.
According to Dale, Trump said “Don’t worry about that baby” when the infant first started crying, and when the child cried again, the mother quickly left the room to avoid interrupting the candidate. Trump noticed the woman leaving and called after her, “You can get the baby out of here.” But the woman and the child both returned to their seats later in the rally:
The baby was one row in front of me, three or four rows from the stage, at Trump’s event at a high school in Ashburn, Va. When it began to cry, Trump said, “Don’t worry about that baby, I love babies. I love babies. I hear that baby crying, I like it. I like it. What a baby, what a beautiful baby. Don’t worry, don’t worry. The mom’s running around — don’t worry about it.”
People applauded. One minute later, though, the baby began to cry again. This time, the mother quickly decided to take the baby out of the room. Trump, looking in our direction, appeared to notice that she was on her way to the exit.
And then he said, “Actually, I was only kidding. You can get the baby out of here. That’s all right. Don’t worry. I think she really believed me that I love having a baby crying while I’m speaking?” He cupped his hand over his eyes to watch her leave. “That’s OK, people don’t understand. That’s OK.”
A joke? Possibly. An insensitive, heartless, ordinary-person-embarrassing remark? Possibly. Trump’s tone is eternally hard to read. But, to my eyes, it certainly was not an ejection — it was an unusually barbed endorsement of the mother’s own decision to depart.
One other salient fact is missing from all the pieces on babygate. Mom and baby, very much not kicked out, came back to their seat a bit later.
Whatever Donald Trump may have said or meant, he did not order that a crying child be removed from his rally, nor was the child or its mother required to leave.