Donald Trump: CIA officers targeted at rally in Arizona

Image copyright Reuters Image caption These are believed to be US Central Intelligence Agency officers A Donald Trump rally in Phoenix, Arizona, has seen officials targeted for opposition by the president and a crowd…

Donald Trump: CIA officers targeted at rally in Arizona

Image copyright Reuters Image caption These are believed to be US Central Intelligence Agency officers

A Donald Trump rally in Phoenix, Arizona, has seen officials targeted for opposition by the president and a crowd of supporters shouting “USA! USA! USA!”

One official was treated for symptoms of mild heat exhaustion and one for smoke inhalation, although officials did not call the cause of the incident suspicious.

The man believed to be the CIA officer was not harmed, and he and others were given medical treatment.

The incident came at the end of a contentious speech by Mr Trump, in which he called Attorney General Jeff Sessions an “ungrateful fool” for recusing himself from the FBI’s Russia investigation.

Mr Trump raised fresh concerns after he refused to accept that Russian President Vladimir Putin was to blame for Russian election interference.

“No, I don’t think so,” Mr Trump told reporters. “I think it was probably other people and/or countries” that interfered.

“Only Russia can answer that question, and they have not answered it yet,” he said.

‘Idiot’ threat

Mr Trump’s temperamental style on the campaign trail, combined with his unfailing brashness, often made for a toxic mix with his political opponents.

Photo: AFP / Getty Images

In the past, Mr Trump has called migrants who cross the border from Mexico “criminals” and “rapists”, and said Senator John McCain, who had been a prisoner of war in Vietnam, was not a war hero.

His remarks on Russia were also criticised by former and serving US intelligence officials, as well as McCain himself.

But in Phoenix, Mr Trump lashed out at Senator John McCain, who is a former presidential candidate and senator, for opposing him on the issue.

“He’s not a war hero,” Mr Trump said. “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”

The statement drew gasps from the crowd.

“Why did he do that?” asked a man at the rally.

“Because he’s an idiot,” said the president.

Overcome with emotion, Mr Trump launched into a speech about Mr McCain’s heroism, before calmly exiting the stage, shrugging off any questions.

Speaking after the rally, a witness, who did not want to be named, told the Washington Post that the crowd chanted “USA! USA!”

He added: “Trump and the crowd collectively went nuts.”

“We were surprised but also dumbfounded,” Representative Ruben Gallego, a Democrat, told the Post.

Phoenix police, who recorded the events, said only one person reported feeling lightheaded and one suffered “second-degree smoke inhalation”.

“Our top priority is to ensure the safety of all,” said Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams.

“We did not find any indication that was in any way related to the President or this rally, and we will continue to investigate it as any other incident.”

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