On Wednesday, after he was denied press credentials to cover Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s first public event since being introduced as Donald Trump’s vice-presidential candidate in Cleveland, the Washington Post’s Jose DelReal was barred from entering the rally by security staffers, who went as far as to summon law enforcement before escorting him from the premises.
A campaign official blamed the incident on overenthusiastic volunteers. “It sounds like they misinterpreted what they were supposed to be doing,” the official said. “This is not our policy.”
DelReal tried to enter the Waukesha County Exposition Center, outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, through the general-admission line after volunteers at a press check-in desk turned him down for a credential. (Trump banned the Post from covering his events last month.)
When DelReal asked whether others attending the rally could enter with their cellphones, he said the unidentified official replied, “Not if they work for The Washington Post.”
After placing his computer and phone in his car, DelReal returned to the line and was detained again by security personnel, who summoned two county sheriff’s deputies. The officers patted down DelReal’s legs and torso, seeking his phone, the reporter said.
When the officers — whom DelReal identified as Deputy John Lappley and Capt. Michelle Larsuel — verified that he wasn’t carrying a phone, the reporter asked to be admitted. The security person declined. “He said, ‘I don’t want you here. You have to go,’ ” DelReal said.
DelReal was escorted out and was not permitted to speak to a campaign press representative.
“Law enforcement officers, in collusion with private security officials, subjected a reporter to bullying treatment that no ordinary citizen has to endure. All of this took place in a public facility no less,” the Post’s executive editor, Marty Baron, said. “The harassment of an independent press isn’t coming to an end. It’s getting worse.”
In a statement, Pence spokesman Marc Lotter said: “Our events are open to everyone and we are looking into the alleged incident.”