At Newt Gingrich’s first campaign event of the day in Florida, the lack of class and character of Newt’s security team was on display.
Eddie Dillard, a Florida resident decided to stand outside his precinct with a Ron Paul sign and his Ron Paul T-shirt to give his candidate some advertising. All was well until the Gingrich bus pulled in. Chris Moody of Yahoo! News’ “The Ticket” provided an account of what transpired:
When Gingrich’s bus pulled up, Dillard stood silently holding his sign and watched the news-media horde swamp the candidate. Gingrich stepped down from the bus and made a beeline for Dillard. He stopped in front of Dillard and his sign and parked himself for a round of handshaking and pictures with voters. The placement couldn’t have been worse.There was Gingrich, standing with his wife Callista at their first event of the day, and a giant Ron Paul sign floated inches from their crowns.
Noticing the awkward optics, Gingrich aides and security personnel swarmed Dillard, trying to intimidate him into moving. One of Gingrich’s security agents stepped in front of him. When Dillard didn’t budge, the agent lifted his heeled shoe over Dillard’s bare foot and dug the back of it into his skin, twisting it side-to-side like he was stomping out a cigarette. Shocked, Dillard kept his ground and took a picture of the agent with his phone, which was quickly knocked out of his hand. Dillard slipped off his flip-flop to pick up the phone with his foot, and a Gingrich supporter kicked the sandal away.
“Don’t kick me!” Dillard said to the man who knocked away his sandal. More members of Gingrich’s security retinue approached, shoving their shoulders and chests in front of him.
“Just block him!” a Gingrich campaign aide said. “Everyone step on his toes!”
This is not the first incident involving a member of Newt Gingrich’s security team. Earlier in January, a member of Newt’s detail assaulted Adam Kokesh as he was filming in a public parking lot in New Hampshire – an incident which warranted a criminal complaint filed by Mr. Kokesh.
We will continue to monitor the situation and see if Mr. Gingrich provides an apology to Mr. Dillard, or if any action is taken against the security team.