President Donald Trump scolded a man at his New Hampshire rally on Thursday evening for appearing to be overweight and tried to have him thrown out of the event.
While the president apparently thought he was training his insult comedy on a protester, it turned out he was weight-shaming one of his own supporters, a 31-year law enforcement officer and naval veteran.
As a group of protesters was being dragged out of the Manchester venue, a supporter in a Trump hat and t-shirt started gesturing at the protesters with his fist. Using his typical shoot-first-aim-never approach, Trump began mocking him.
“That guy’s got a serious weight problem,” Trump scolded. “Go home. Start exercising. get him out, please. Got a bigger problem than I do.”
Doctors have called Trump clinically obese based on his 2019 annual physical.
Fox News identified the Trump supporter as Frank Dawson, a 31-year law enforcement officer and a veteran of the United States Navy.
“I think he thought I was part of it,” Dawson told the network. “But I was the good part of it.”
In the same speech, Trump — whose racist attacks and abuse of power to punish critics have been a staple of his presidency — claimed that his movement is “built on love.”
Trump’s demand that Dawson exercise is surprising given his longstanding opposition to physical activity. According to numerous reports, he believes the human body to be similar to a battery with a limited amount of energy, and thinks exercise is a waste of that battery life.
This is not the first time Trump has insulted his own supporters at rallies. During his 2016 campaign, he mocked a mother with a crying baby, telling her she should “get the baby out of here.”
UPDATE: According to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, a White House official said Trump called and left a voicemail for Dawson, but did not apologize for his remarks. The official said the president thanked him for his support. Earlier reports suggested Trump had apologized to Dawson.