An Associated Press photographer is the latest target of Donald Trump's misplaced rage. Mic Smith covered a speech given by the Republican candidate in Charleston, South Carolina last week. Smith then submitted two photos to the Associated Press.
The first picture looks like a standard press photo of a campaign rally. Trump is standing on a podium speaking before a crowd of people, some of whom are standing close to the stage.
The second photo seems to tell an entirely different story. This photo is of the same event, but was taken from the back of the room. From this perspective, it looks like there are a lot of empty chairs.
Of course, Trump had something to say about the situation. He spoke with The Daily Mail in order to give his side of the story, calling Smith "a fucking thief". He did not clarify how taking a picture of a few empty chairs makes a person guilty of theft, preferring instead to complain that the situation was "goddamned unfair". Trump continued, saying that:
The point is that everybody from the back rushed to the front. And the people who put out the pictures knew it. And they said, 'Oh look! The back 25 per cent [is empty]. I was speaking from the podium. Everybody was wrapped around the podium. If they hadn't done that, there wouldn't have been an empty seat.
Other journalists seem to confirm the story told by Smith's Associated Press photos. MSNBC's Jane Timm pointed out that Trump's speech was "billed as an address to the South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce" but wound up being given before a "half-empty room of white people". Timm confirmed that "the last seven rows of seats were empty".
Jonathan Martin, of The New York Times, estimated that "about a third of the seats were unfilled" and later tweeted his own picture of the event highlighting "scores of empty chairs".
Martin later dealt with "chair truthers" accusing him of lying, and even a predictable response from Trump himself, who called the reporter "dishonest". Trump has yet to comment on the Associated Press, though for its part, the organization is standing by Smith's photos and its description of the Trump event.