DONALD Trump’s social media summit almost descended into a brawl when his former aide clashed with a Playboy writer at the White House.
The Secret Service intervened after ex-Trump staffer Sebastian Gorka got into a shouting match with Brian Karem, who writes for CNN and Playboy.
Trump’s former aide Sebastian Gorka (centre) got into a shouting match in the White House’s Rose Garden[/caption]
The Secret Service had to step in as Brian Karem (centre), who writes for CNN and Playboy, clashed with Gorka[/caption]
Footage shows the pair squaring off in the Rose Garden after the summit on Thursday, which saw Trump address more than 100 right-wing social media.
Karem appeared to taunt the conservative attendees, saying they are a “group of people that are eager for demonic possession”.
Brit-born Gorka, who once acted as Trump’s deputy assistant, shouted back at him from across the lawn, saying: “You are a journalist, right?”
Karem responded: “Come on over here and talk to me, brother.
“We can go outside and have a long conversation.”
As dozens of journalists looked on, Gorka marched towards Karem while shouting: “You’re threatening me now in the White House.
“You’re threatening me in the Rose Garden.”
Once firmly in Karem’s face, he yelled: “You’re a punk. You’re not a journalist. You’re a punk!”
Karem shot back: “Go home. Hey Gorka! Get a job!”
Trump had used the White House event to applaud far-right social media provocateurs – but conceded that some of them are extreme in their views.
During his speech he attacked tech giants such as Facebook and Twitter – but excluded representatives from the very platforms he exploits.
“Big tech must not censor the voices of the American people,” he told the crowd in the White House East Room.
He announced he is directing his administration to explore “all regulatory and legislative solutions to protect free speech and the free-speech rights of all Americans.”
And Trump said he’s inviting executives from major social media platforms to join him at the White House over the next month or so.
Earlier Thursday, Trump sent a stream of Twitter messages lashing out at social media companies and the press, familiar targets that resonate with his conservative base.
“A big subject today at the White House Social Media Summit will be the tremendous dishonesty, bias, discrimination and suppression practiced by certain companies,” he said.
“We will not let them get away with it much longer.”
The meeting represented an escalation of Trump’s battle with companies like Facebook, Google and even his preferred outlet, Twitter, where he has an estimated 61 million followers.
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The president has claimed that the companies are “against me” and even suggested US regulators should sue them on grounds of anti-conservative bias.
Trump has accused Twitter, without evidence, of making it “very hard for people to join me” and “very much harder for me to get out the message.”
The firms already are under closer scrutiny than ever by regulators and in Congress following a stream of scandals, including Facebook’s lapses opening the personal data of millions of users to Trump’s 2016 campaign.