Donald Trump was nearly attacked on stage at rally in Dayton, Ohio, Saturday morning, and later in the day Trump declared that the attacker was connected to ISIS. But the claim that the would-be attacker, 22-year-old Thomas Dimassimo — reportedly a student at Wright State University in Dayton — is a member of ISIS or an ISIS sympathizer appears to be a hoax circulated via online right-wing media channels after the incident.
Dimassimo (pictured above, right, following his release from jail Saturday) never reached Trump, as United States Secret Service agents stopped him about 10 feet away from the controversial Republican frontrunner. The protester's intentions for Trump, had he been able to reach the billionaire presidential candidate, are not yet clear.
Trump's reaction can be seen in the following video.
So this just happened at Trump rally in Dayton. No wonder he is sweating so much, crowd is on edge. pic.twitter.com/wDfUAcMJGJBut in a Twitter posting made on Friday, Dimassimo declared his intention to "spit" on Trump, whom he described as a "false king."
— Megan Specia (@meganspecia) March 12, 2016
I've had about all I can take from the violent trump ralliersHe also tweeted while waiting in line to enter the Dayton Donald Trump rally, saying that he had "never been more scared in my life," and asking friends for "thoughts and prayers."
Saturday im going to check my people and spit on their false king
— MARLON BANDO (@Younglionking7) March 11, 2016
Trump, nonetheless, took to the stage at a rally in Kansas City, Missouri, later on Saturday — where he told his crowd of supporters that Dimassimo was somehow linked to ISIS, the Syria-based international terrorist organization.
"It was probably ISIS or ISIS-related," Trump claimed. "They find the guy is playing all sorts of, just, let's say, music that you wouldn't be liking, dragging an American flag along the sidewalk, making all sorts of gestures... and he's probably or possibly ISIS-related. This guy should be in jail right now. This is a guy who was looking to do harm."Watch video of the complete Donald Trump Kansas City rally speech, below.
Trump also repeated his claim about ISIS on his Twitter account.
USSS did an excellent job stopping the maniac running to the stage. He has ties to ISIS. Should be in jail! https://t.co/tkzbHg7wyD?ssr=true
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2016
According to a report by WHIO Radio in Dayton, Dimassimo, who lives in Fairborn, Ohio, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct as well as inducing panic. He was released, after posting bail, by a judge in Montgomery County, Ohio, on Saturday afternoon. Police made no mention that Dimassimo was armed in any way, though Trump supporters on social media claimed he had a knife.
On his Twitter account, Dimassimo denied carrying a knife, and said that video clearly shows both of his hands grabbing a metal railing near the stage.
Dimassimo has a history of activism, including appearing in a controversial video in which, as Trump claimed, he is seen standing on an American flag as it lies on a sidewalk.
"This is not meant to individually disrespect members of military service for the sacrifices they made for this country," Dimassimo told local media at the time. "We are not anti-vet, we are not anti-troops. We are against systematic oppression and structural inequality."
But the claim that the 22-year-old was somehow connected to ISIS appears to have originated in the following video, which apparently was created and posted sometime in 2015. The video falsely claims to have been produced by ISIS. Though the original has since been removed, it was reposted on YouTube after the incident Saturday morning.
The claim that Dimassimo is an "ISIS sympathizer" was circulated widely among Trump supporters in social media.
TRUE STORY: #ISIS sympathizer declares MARTYRDOM on #Twitter, attacks leading GOP prez candidate on stage today! https://t.co/aObqkug0Xn
— Dan Gabriel (@danpgabriel) March 12, 2016
The True Face of Hatred. Attempted #Trump Assassin Tommy DiMassimo Defaces Flag, Sympathizes /w ISIS & #FeelTheBern pic.twitter.com/yQYN6ZFTBwDimassimo's attempted rush on the stage where Donald Trump was speaking, in front of his private jet emblazoned with the name "Trump" and parked on a tarmac at Dayton International Airport, came less than 18 hours after Trump canceled a rally in Chicago, Illinois, when a large crowd of demonstrators showed up to protest his appearance.
— Upstate Voice (@UpstateVoice) March 12, 2016
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Trump claimed that the decision to cancel the Chicago rally was made after consulting with local law enforcement authorities who told him that they had security concerns about the rally.
But Chicago police denied Trump's claim, saying that they were aware of no security threats surrounding his appearance, and their manpower was adequate for any crowd control purposes there.
Chicago Police Department spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said that the Donald Trump campaign made the decision to cancel the rally in an arena at the University of Illinois-Chicago "independently."
[Featured Photos By Ty Wright/Getty Images/Twitter]