Facts are under assault in 2020.

We can't fight back misinformation about the election and COVID-19 without you. Support trusted, factual information with a tax deductible contribution to PolitiFact

More Info

I would like to contribute

Allison Graves
By Allison Graves November 6, 2016

Donald Trump's Pants on Fire claim that Obama 'screamed' at protester

Donald Trump attacked President Barack Obama for yelling at a pro-Trump protester during the president’s rally for Hillary Clinton on Friday in Fayetteville, N.C.

"You have to go back and look and study and see what happened," Trump said at a rally in Hershey, Pa., later that evening. "They never moved the camera and (Obama) spent so much time screaming at a protester, and frankly it was a disgrace."

We decided to take Trump’s advice and "look and study" what happened. It turns out Trump’s depiction of the situation is flat-out wrong. Obama actually defended the protester's freedom of speech.

What actually happened

While Obama was campaigning for Clinton, rally-goers began to shout and boo at a Trump supporter in the crowd. Obama tried to calm the situation, repeatedly yelling at the crowd to "hold up," "listen," and "sit down and be quiet for a second."

When the noise settled a bit, Obama defended the protester's right to speak out.

"You’ve got an older gentleman who is supporting his candidate, " Obama said. "He’s not doing nothing. You don’t have to worry about him."

Then, Obama explained to the Clinton supporters why they should respect this man.

"This is what I mean about folks not being focused," Obama said. "First of all, we live in a country that respects free speech. Second of all, it looks like maybe he might have served in our military and we ought to respect that. Third of all, he was elderly and we got to respect our elders. And fourth of all, don't boo. Vote. Don’t boo. Vote."

Featured Fact-check

Obama doesn’t yell at the protester. In fact, most of his defense is directed at the Clinton supporters. Our friends at Deadspin did a great job showing Obama’s comments opposite of Trump's.

"I want you to pay attention because if we lose focus we could have problems," Obama continued. "It’s part of what’s happened here during this election season. We just get stirred up for all kinds of reasons that are unnecessary."

We reached out to the Trump campaign but did not hear back.

Our ruling

Trump said that at a campaign rally President Barack Obama "spent so much time screaming at a protester, and frankly it was a disgrace."

Trump got this all wrong.

Obama defended the protester's right to speak out, and didn’t scream at him. In fact, Obama’s remarks were directed at Clinton supporters, not the protester.

We rate this claim Pants on Fire.

https://www.sharethefacts.co/share/62034012-fe88-469a-bd2c-3195e9b82378

Our Sources

YouTube, "FULL Event: Donald Trump Rally in Hershey MASSIVE Crowd of over 27,000 Pennsylvania 11-04-2016."

Youtube, "President Obama Fayetteville North Carolina FULL speech 11/4/16."

ABC News, "Trump Bashes Obama for 'Screaming' at Protester (He Wasn't)," Nov. 4.
 
CNN, "Reality Check: Trump's wild misrepresentation of Obama's response to a protester," Nov. 5.
 

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Allison Graves

Donald Trump's Pants on Fire claim that Obama 'screamed' at protester

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up