Sometimes the self-declared greatest counterpuncher in the world lands a blow on the wrong person.
That was the case on Thursday night, when President Trump fat-shamed a man who he thought was a protester being disruptive in the upper rungs of the stadium in Manchester, N.H., where the president was holding a campaign rally. Instead, the man turned out to be a supporter of the president who was trying to assist in removing the actual protesters.
The episode took place midway through the rally. As Mr. Trump’s 90-minute speech was interrupted, he waited for the disruption to end. He looked up to the seats where it was taking place, and said, “That guy’s got a serious weight problem! Go home. Start exercising.”
He went on, acknowledging his own struggles with weight, “Got a bigger problem than I do.” But Mr. Trump’s aides quickly realized the man was a supporter, not a protester. The man, Frank Dawson, was interviewed by Fox News shortly after the rally, and he said he was not upset about being mocked by Mr. Trump.
“I think he thought I was part of it but I wasn’t,” Mr. Dawson said, later adding: “Everything’s good. I love the guy. He’s the best thing that ever happened to this country.”
Mr. Trump’s aides tracked down Mr. Dawson’s contact information, and the president called him from Air Force One, shortly before takeoff from New Hampshire. He got Mr. Dawson’s voice mail. He did not say the words “I’m sorry” or “I apologize,” an aide to the president said, but said he didn’t mean to refer to Mr. Dawson and thanked him for his support.
The president has a long history of calling protesters in his crowds names. But there’s no other known instance of him mocking one of his own supporters by accident.