Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reportedly grabbed the phone of an NBC reporter and tossed it before demanding the gentleman be kicked off his plane.
The incident, first reported by Vanity Fair, occurred back in March following a campaign rally in Waco, Texas.
NBC News reporter Vaughn Hillyard was among a group of reporters asking the former President questions. Hillyard allegedly struck a nerve by asking about the ongoing criminal probe by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Trump was later indicted and arraigned on 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree.
The looming specter of the investigation seemingly irked Trump, and Hillyard tried to get his thoughts as to whether he was “frustrated” by Bragg’s actions.
Audio obtained by the Washington Post reveals the contentious exchange.
“I’m not frustrated by anything. What am I, frustrated? — I just did a speech for two hours,” Trump interjected.
“I’m not frustrated by it. It’s a fake investigation. We did nothing wrong — I told you that,” he continued. “It’s the exact opposite. This is fake news, and NBC is one of the worst at it. Don’t ask me any more questions.”
In a recording obtained by VF’s @charlottetklein, Donald Trump lashed out at NBC News reporter Vaughn Hillyard over his questions related to the Manhattan DA’s case: “Don’t ask me any more questions.” https://t.co/Er7qSB7iyU
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) May 1, 2023
RELATED: GOP Rep Andy Biggs Introduces Bill to Defund Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s Office
Trump Demands Reporter Kicked Off Plane
Trump later went after Hillyard in an unprompted comment saying, “I heard you’re a nice guy from NBC, but you’re not.”
Rather than not actually asking any more questions as Trump requested, Hillyard took that as an invitation to keep baiting him by asking about January 6th and whether violence is justifiable.
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As Trump did on the day of the Capitol riot, he sided with peaceful protests.
“I’m not for violence at all. But a lot of people are upset,” Trump said. “I’m not in favor of violence.”
Shortly thereafter, Hillyard again tries to ask a question prompting Trump to reply, “I don’t want to talk to you. You’re not a nice guy.”
Former president Donald Trump got so irritated with an NBC reporter’s questions about a Manhattan criminal investigation that he grabbed the journalist’s phones and demanded that he be removed from an airplane interview https://t.co/diuCc2XOWM
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) May 2, 2023
According to the Vanity Fair report, Trump at one point “snapped, grabbing the reporter’s two phones and chucking them to the side.”
The Post indicates a “soft thud” can be heard on the audio presumably when Hillyard’s phones had been tossed.
“Let’s go, get him out of here. Outta here! Outta here!” Trump reportedly shouts.
The journalists, according to the Washington Post, “were ushered away from Trump” though it is unclear if Hillyard was actually removed from the plane.
Reporters are pesky. But dealing with them comes with the territory of running for president. Trump used to be masterclass at reporter handling. Nowadays he’s grabbing & chucking their phones. Maybe it’s because he’s 76 & has less patience these days, or the stress that comes…
— Marina Medvin 🇺🇸 (@MarinaMedvin) May 3, 2023
RELATED: Obama Says Trump Will Violate Constitution – Here’s a List of Times the President Actually Did That
Obama’s War With the Press
Before the media has an aneurysm over Trump’s actions and denounces them as an assault on a free press in America, we’d like to remind them that their muse, Barack Obama, had a very contentious relationship with the media at times.
Does anyone recall widespread outrage when Obama booted reporters from conservative newspapers off of his airplane?
President Obama was also relentless in his efforts to suppress journalists from right-leaning outlets.
He famously used his Department of Justice (DOJ) to try and shut down Fox News reporter James Rosen by spying on him and accusing him of committing a crime.
A 2010 subpoena approved by Eric Holder implicated Rosen as a possible co-conspirator under the Espionage Act of 1917. As such, investigators gained access to the times of his phone calls and two days’ worth of Rosen’s emails.
We’re sure he’d have preferred if Obama simply chucked his phone instead.
Joe Concha: No President Worse to Press than Obama whose DOJ Spied on Fox Reporter James Rosen, Associated Press pic.twitter.com/jv2I1nixKM
— Alexandra Datig | Front Page Index 🇺🇸 (@alexdatig) June 9, 2021
And it wasn’t just Fox News reporters.
Obama’s DOJ mounted a serious attack on the First Amendment and Freedom of the Press in 2013 by seizing the records of reporters at Fox News and the Associated Press (AP).
The AP reporters – 20 of them – had their phone records subpoenaed through their providers, something they claimed at the time was a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into news-gathering operations.
In fact, New York Times reporter James Risen, who had experienced the attack on press freedom under Obama firsthand, said it was the Democrat who would be to blame if Trump ever tried to shut down the press.
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