Donald Trump tweeted a hoax video falsely suggesting that the man who rushed the stage at a Saturday rally in Dayton, Ohio is affiliated with ISIS.
Trump has since deleted the tweet and defended himself. “All I know is what’s on the Internet,” the GOP front-runner explained, according to the Daily Mail.
The man who rushed the stage at Saturday’s Trump campaign rally is Tommy DiMassimo, a 22-year-old Bernie Sanders supporter, a former child star and a senior at Wright State University.
Secret Service agents tackled DiMassimo. He was arrested.
Shortly after the incident, footage of DiMassimo stomping all over an American flag at a 2015 protest began floating around the Internet.
Trump — who has instructed “losers and haters” that his “I.Q. is one of the highest” — chose to retweet an edited account of this footage that featured the famous black-and-white ISIS symbol and some Arab music. The footage caption read: “He has ties to ISIS. Should be in jail!” according to the Mail.
The real estate tycoon and casino mogul was then almost immediately exposed as a fraud.
Trump defended falling for the hoax on “Meet the Press” with the statement, “All I know is what’s on the Internet.”
Brookings Institution fellow Charles Lister criticized Trump’s embarrassing lack of sophistication.
“Trump’s accusations about it being linked to ISIS serve only to underline the totality of his ignorance on this issue,” Lister told Sky News.
The genesis of the hoax video is not clear.
Trump has retweeted regrettable statements before. On four previous occasions, he has retweeted zealous endorsements from white supremacists, the Mail notes.
DiMassimo was later given generous airtime by CNN for his apparent attack at a public rally. (RELATED: Man Who Rushed Stage At Trump Rally Is Bernie Supporter Who Did It Because ‘Trump’s A Bully’)
He said he thought he would be able to make it on stage to “take his podium away from him and take his mic away from him and send a message to all people out in the country who wouldn’t consider themselves racist, who wouldn’t consider themselves approving of what type of violence Donald Trump is allowing in his rallies, and send them a message that we can be strong, that we can find our strength and we can stand up against Donald Trump and against this new wave he’s ushering in of truly just violent white supremacist ideas.”
When asked if he planned on attacking Trump, DiMassimo said, “No, not at all. There would have been no point.”
He continued, “Donald Trump is 6 foot 3. I’m 5 foot 9, maybe. He’s a giant man surrounded by thousands of followers, 12 Secret Service and a former Ohio State offensive lineman. That would have accomplished nothing.”
DiMassimo, who added that he had been mulling the stunt since November, faces a Wednesday court date on charges of inducing panic and disorderly conduct.
DiMassimo’s U.S. flag-stomping (and flag-dragging) escapade occurred in April 2015. The protest also included signs reading “Not my flag.”
Wright State is located in Dayton.
DiMassimo is a native of Powder Springs, Ga.