If you're not up to speed on the latest campaign trail flare-up, here are the basics: Spanish language television host Jorge Ramos confronted Donald Trump at an Iowa press conference last night, challenging the GOP frontrunner on the issue of immigration. Trump said Ramos -- who hadn't been called on -- was out of line, telling him several times to sit down before suggesting he "go back to Univision." When Ramos carried on asking his "questions" anyway, security escorted him from the room. Ramos was later re-admitted to the presser, and Trump called on him, leading to a heated exchange over Trump's immigration policy. Video of the initial kerfuffle:
Ramos has since claimed that he thought it was his turn to pose a question, which is plainly untrue based on the clip above, which was posted by his own network. He commenced his harangue before Trump was even at the podium. He wasn't selected as a questioner. Plus, his queries sounded more like an indignant monologue than a good faith effort to extract meaningful information from a public figure. Keep in mind that Ramos is a committed immigration activist who engages in issue advocacy that goes far beyond any semblance of journalism. Jim Geragthy notes that just last week, Ramos called Trump "the loudest voice of intolerance, hatred and division in the United States." Now he's whining about having his "right to free expression" "suppressed" by Trump, or whatever. I'll let Allahpundit take it from here:
When you’re speaking open-borders “truth” to security power, your righteous urgency leaves no room for professional courtesy. And now he’s a free-speech martyr, all because Trump wouldn’t stand there and be heckled at length — even though he did eventually let Ramos back in for a little heckling and counter-heckling...The day liberals decide that Obama or Hillary Clinton is duty bound to engage in press-conference colloquies with, say, Rush Limbaugh is the day Trump is duty bound to engage Ramos.
Hillary Clinton rarely holds press conferences at all -- for reasons that should be obvious -- so the scenario AP envisions is virtually unthinkable. Unlike Hillary, Trump tends to take questions from all comers, even if he ends up whimpering about being treated "unfairly" and childishly trolling the journalists who challenge him for weeks on end. Trump allowed the allegedly "suppressed" Ramos back into the room and proceeded to engage him at length. Act two:
After waiting his turn to be called on this go 'round, Ramos begins his, ahem, "question" by listing the flaws he sees in Trump's immigration proposal. (He makes some fair points). Trump parries challenges on changing the law to withhold and/or strip citizenship from so-called 'anchor babies' by punting the issue to legal scholars, then asserts that building a wall along the entirety of the southern border is less complicated than constructing skyscrapers. Ramos asks how Trump intends to round up and deport 12 million illegal immigrants, logistically speaking. Trump's answer focuses entirely on beginning the process with gang members and felons, which...isn't an answer, nor is it a politically risky position to take. The billionaire turns the tables on Ramos' grandstanding by pushing back with a series of his own questions for his interlocutor: Don't you agree that not every illegal immigrant is a good person? Aren't there some terrible criminals among the illegal immigrant population here? Are you okay with booting them out of the country? Ramos tellingly refuses to respond at first, then finally concedes the point. He later recites the facile bumper sticker slogan that "no human being is illegal," to which Trump responds that yes, if you enter the country illegally, you're an illegal immigrant.
Neither man convinced the other of a single thing, of course, but both men undoubtedly benefitted from the spectacle. Tossing a rude quasi-journalist -- from Univision, no less! -- out of a press conference, then sparring aggressively with him for several minutes about illegal immigration is weapons-grade catnip for Trump's base. His fans (and many other Americans, for that matter) are tired of mealy-mouthed political double-talk, they're focused on the hottest button issue of the day, and they loathe the news media. This was a Trumpian trifecta. Likewise, lecturing America's most prominent border warrior after being forcibly marched out of the room is pure gold for Ramos' brand, too. And thus we've lurched from one fireworks-heavy Trump/media feud to another. Via The Hill, I'll leave you with Ted Cruz trying to get in on the action, accusing Megyn Kelly of asking "liberal journalist"-style questions about the specifics of his immigration stance:
Maybe Cruz figures that by pushing back against Kelly, he'll further ingratiate himself with the Trump folks, whom he's taken great pains not to inflame. Or maybe, as AP speculates, he'd prefer not to answer the question, given his previously-stated position from 2013: "Asked about what to do with the people here illegally, however, [Cruz] stressed that he had never tried to undo the goal of allowing them to stay. 'The amendment that I introduced removed the path to citizenship, but it did not change the underlying work permit from the Gang of Eight,' he said during a recent visit to El Paso. Mr. Cruz also noted that he had not called for deportation..." How'd that answer play given the passions of the moment?