“The press came out with headlines: ‘Trump throws baby out of arena.’ So dishonest. I mean these are dishonest people. I could give you 20 stories like that. Everyone’s having fun, we’re smiling, I’m waving. Everyone’s having fun, but they say Trump throws baby [out]. You know how terrible that is? It’s such a lie. And they know it’s a lie.” —Donald Trump, Aug. 5, 2016
The mainstream media was all over Donald Trump asking how could he be so mean as to throw a crying baby out of a rally:
The New York Post, for instance, headlined its article: “Trump loves crying baby, then kicks the tot out of his rally.” The New York Daily News, in its article on the incident, began: “What a baby. Donald Trump booted a fussy baby from a rally Tuesday because the tot was wailing over the businessman’s speech.” The Guardian newspaper even used the incident to declare that this is a core problem with Trump — that he has “a total lack of empathy.”
There was only one problem…it never happened.
Like the furor over Trump’s comment about Putin hacking to find Hillary’s 30,000 erased emails, the mainstream media took a comment the GOP candidate made in jest and falsely turned it into a major incident
As Glenn Kessler the Washington Post fact-checker explains:
There are two parts to the video. During his speech a baby starts to cry, and Trump says: “Don’t worry about that baby, I love babies. … I hear that baby crying. I like it. What a baby. What a beautiful baby. Don’t worry, don’t worry. The mom’s running around like — don’t worry about it, you know. It’s young and beautiful and healthy, and that’s what we want.”
But then about a minute later he says: “Actually, I was only kidding. You can get the baby out of here. … I think she really believed me that I love having a baby crying while I’m speaking.”
But the video only tells part of the story Daniel Dale, rom the Toronto Star, was sitting right behind the mother and explained, ‘For people who find Trump cold and cruel, the story is irresistible. But it’s not true.’
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 okay, people don’t understand. That’s okay.”
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.
The baby was sucking a pacifier, silent.
Dale was sitting in with the crowd. He doesn’t request press credentials anymore because he wants to have a better understanding of the crowd reaction.
The WAPO Fact Checker got confirmation of Dale’s account from the mother of the crying baby herself:
“The media did in fact blow this entire situation out of proportion,” she wrote in an email. “I’m not looking to make it into anything bigger. All I’m hoping is that Trump personally is aware that I am in agreement with him and stand by the fact that I was never kicked out of the rally.”
She said that she decided to leave the auditorium on her own because “it’s the considerate thing to do for others around, trying to listen or for those presenting,” adding that “it was blatantly obvious he was joking.” She said she stood with the police officers outside the auditorium, who were very kind to her, and then returned to her seat once her child had calmed down.
“I had a wonderful time and I appreciate Trump’s graciousness during a time that is usually considered stressful,” she said. “His comic relief was a breath of fresh air.”
Kessler concludes that the GOP candidate wast treated unfairly by the media.And instead of awarding him a Pinocchio he gave Trump a Geppetto Checkmark because his claim about press unfairness was totally correct.